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The hundreds of millions of dollars that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged to send to Afghanistan will be going into the wrong hands, nonprofit rescue groups warn.
The funds, over $308 million in all, “are not going to go in the hands of the average Afghan, it is going to go in the hand of the Taliban for food supply,” Sean Kilbrane, the programs manager for Save Our Allies, told Fox News.
Save Our Allies has worked to rescue American citizens, permanent residents, special immigrant visa (SIV) holders and other special populations from Afghanistan while helping them navigate the cultural, legal and societal challenges of being refugees.
Kilbrane said they “see on a daily basis, Taliban soldiers at checkpoints… asking for food, they don’t have food, they aren’t getting paid.”
Taliban fighters escort women marching in support of the Taliban government outside Kabul University, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A USAID spokesperson responded to Fox News, “All funds are directed to closely vetted local and international partners on the ground with experience operating in complex environments such as Afghanistan.”
The spokesperson added humanitarian assistance “goes directly to independent organizations like UN agencies and NGOs and will provide vulnerable Afghans with critically needed food, emergency health needs, including COVID-19, and polio vaccination campaigns that are ongoing, water and sanitation health care, and other urgently needed humanitarian relief.”
Taliban fighters stand guard during a women’s protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Ahmad Halabisaz)
Still, Kilbrane argued that the “aid won’t get into the hands of those who need it,” and “allocating portions to our nonprofits and organizations, here at home who are working on this, would make a [greater impact].”
“The 14- and 16-year-old Hazaras girls we had to rescue from the street because the Taliban had killed their father, jailed the mother and were trying to track them down to be child brides as rewards, the LGBTQ community of which we have 60 … that we’ve been able to move to the safe spot and they are hiding for their life … those people will not be changed” by the aid, Kilbrane stated.
Former Marine officer Matt Nelson, a member of the board of directors at Save Our Allies, said he’s helping with the mission, calling it his moral duty as a veteran and citing his core belief to not walk away.
“We just need the country to back us up on that same way,” said Nelson.
Beyond the efforts of physically getting people out of Afghanistan, Kilbrane said rescues don’t stop there. Save Our Allies has worked with setting up families in the United States, from finding housing to helping teach cultural norms in order to fully transition the refugees into American society.
He says with the current economy, his efforts have been harder to acheive. “We’re fighting inflation and rises in the housing market. Yes, quite literally. We can’t find affordable housing for these individuals.”