Department of Defense Press Release
U.S. Humanitarian Relief Mission to Afghanistan
The Pentagon
Arlington, Virginia
October 7, 2001

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld announced today that at 9:30 p.m. EDT, two U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft finished an airdrop of enough daily rations for 37,500 people in the regions of Afghanistan where displaced persons are at risk of starvation.

"This is just the first installment of the President's pledge of $320 million of assistance to the people of Afghanistan," said Rumsfeld.

This airdrop will assist the Afghan people who are coping with the growing humanitarian crisis. The President has instructed the Defense Department to provide food through all available means into regions where displaced persons risk starvation.

The total includes $25 million authorized on September 28 by the President from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to provide assistance to a potentially large number of refugees who could cross from Afghanistan into surrounding countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Additional assistance totaling $295 million will be provided through United Nations assistance agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, non-governmental organizations, and through direct provision of food and relief supplies.

The U.S. is Afghanistan's largest aid donor, with more than $170 million already this year. The U.S. and other countries have provided food, shelter, jobs and health clinics for needy Afghans.