NATO may provide Ukraine with over $3 billion from Afghan Fund – media reports

7 December 2022, 06:29 PM
NATO has assured Ukraine that they will support Kyiv as long as necessary (Photo:Defence Imagery/Flickr)

NATO has assured Ukraine that they will support Kyiv as long as necessary (Photo:Defence Imagery/Flickr)

NATO countries are considering using leftover funds from a pot of money previously used to back the Afghan security forces to provide support to Ukraine in the coming weeks, U.S. political news outlet Politico reported on Dec. 7. 

Politico, referring to five Western officials familiar with the matter, said the money, known as the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, had been intended for use in equipping and training troops.

Kyiv has asked NATO nations to consider reallocating some of the $3.4 billion to help support their efforts to fight Russia, two of the Western officials said. All of the officials requested to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely about internal NATO discussions.

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According to Politico, the push to reallocate the Afghan funds appears mostly uncontroversial within the alliance, but comes as individual countries face increasing tension at home about how much funding to provide to Ukraine – especially as high inflation and rising energy costs, especially in Europe, raise worries about a looming recession.

NATO officials have discussed the possibility of using the Afghanistan funds for Ukraine for more than a month, including during a meeting in Brussels in October, according to one of the Western officials. The fund has been frozen and the alliance has worked to come up with a mechanism for transferring the money back to individual nations or moving it somewhere else, but it is up to each donor nation to decide how to use the money.

Some NATO countries are considering using some or all of those funds for Ukraine.

The news outlet stressed that at least one country has already committed to using some of the Afghan trust fund donations for Ukraine, while it remains a matter of discussion for many other allies once the money is returned to national coffers.

NATO spokesperson Daniele Riggio said the process of returning money from the account to donor countries has already begun, but didn’t directly address questions about the Afghan funds being used by the alliance to support Ukraine.

Officials in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office did not comment.

The Afghan National Army Trust Fund was suspended and its accounts frozen after the Islamist Taliban armed forces launched a large-scale offensive across Afghanistan in early May 2021 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and other Western troops from the country, to which they had been deployed  for 20 years.

On Aug. 15, the Taliban captured the country’s capital city, Kabul. In late August 2021, the Taliban announced the seizure of power in Afghanistan and later announced the creation of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

The United States and most Western countries evacuated their diplomats from Afghanistan and closed their diplomatic missions.

NATO member countries have been supporting Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, providing financial and military aid.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly said the alliance will support Kyiv for as long as necessary.

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