THE UK had pledged £97 million of aid to Afghanistan as Boris Johnson continues to deny claims he personally approved the airlift of cats from Kabul.

Johnson says claims contained within leaked Foreign Office emails from August that he "authorised" the evacuation of animals through the Nowzad charity are "total rhubarb".

But angry peers yesterday called on Foreign Office minister to come before them and explain and suggested putting stronger protections round the ministerial code.

Today Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced the £97m spending on life-saving food, sanitation and health support amidst widespread hunger, malnutrition and illness.

The Afghan economy was sent into a tailspin after the Taliban took over last summer. That happened after the US and UK withdrew their long-standing operations.

An estimated 23m people lack sufficient food, women have been forced out of work and some desperate families have sold one or more of their children into marriage or other families in order to feed the others.

READ MORE: BBC's John Simpson breaks down as he reports on Afghanistan crisis

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) says this latest allocation of vital support means the UK has "now delivered on its promise to double UK aid to Afghanistan, with £286 million committed this financial year".

Money provided since October will support more than 60 hospitals, provide health services for around 300,000 people and get food for 4.47 million people through the World Food Programme. It will also provide 6.1m people with emergency health, water, protection, shelter, food, and education support through the UN Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund.

Nigel Casey, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Afghanistan, joined a meeting of US and European officals in Oslo earlier this week to discuss economic and humanitarian issues, security and counter-terrorism, and human rights.

There's been controversy over the decision to host senior Taliban figures in Norway and the FCDO says "UK officials made clear to the Taliban delegation our serious concerns about human rights – in particular the rights of women and girls and reports of reprisals against former members of the Afghan security forces".

The announcement comes as Truss fights off her own scandal, following news that she used a private jet for a trip to Australia at an estimated cost of £500,000.

The National:

The FCDO says the trip was "fully within" the rules.

Truss said: "The UK continues to provide vital humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. We have doubled UK aid this year to save lives, protect women and girls and support stability in the region.

""The funds announced today will mean essential food, shelter and health supplies will reach those who are most in need."