Israel donates $500,000 to Afghan refugees

The money is intended to be used to provide vital services such as healthcare, housing, education, food and employment opportunities.

Evacuee children wait for a flight at Kabul’s airport in August amid the backdrop of the perception that the US’s Afghanistan withdrawal is having an impact across the Middle East. (photo credit: 1ST LT. MARK ANDRIES/US MARINE CORPS VIA REUTERS)
Evacuee children wait for a flight at Kabul’s airport in August amid the backdrop of the perception that the US’s Afghanistan withdrawal is having an impact across the Middle East.
(photo credit: 1ST LT. MARK ANDRIES/US MARINE CORPS VIA REUTERS)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has donated $500,000 to support Afghan refugees in Tajikistan, the ministry announced on Tuesday via social media.

The money is intended to be used in efforts to provide vital services such as healthcare, housing, education, food and employment opportunities for Afghan refugees who fled their home country after the Taliban took over in August 2021.

“Thank you Israel for the generous $500,000 contribution to support Afghan refugees and the local communities in Tajikistan,” read a statement from the Twitter account of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Support from the international community helps to meet the needs of displaced Afghans, both within the country and across borders.”

Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Ushpiz also expressed his support for the donation, thanking the UNHCR for the vital work that they do in aiding refugees worldwide.

 Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Alon Ushpiz attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, June 9, 2021.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Alon Ushpiz attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, June 9, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

“Israel is committed to supporting Afghanistan refugees and to improving vital health care services in host communities,” he said. “Men, women and children fleeing their homes must be protected and given hope for better days ahead.”

The aid donation is the first of its kind to come from the ministry. However, the humanitarian aid group IsraAID coordinated the evacuation of 167 vulnerable Afghans via Albania back in October. Israel also signed onto a statement initiated by the US State Department and endorsed by over 70 countries calling “on all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country” during the Taliban’s takeover in August.

Prior to the takeover by the Taliban and the dissolution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government, headed by now-exiled Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani, Israel had no formal relationship with the country.

A Taliban spokesperson told Russian state media outlet Sputnik, “Of course we won’t have any relations with Israel. We want to have relations with other countries, [but] Israel is not among these countries.”

As of August 2021, some 2,221,828 Afghan refugees were registered in the neighboring countries of Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. According to UNHCR, Afghans make up one of the largest refugee populations worldwide.