• publish: 25 September 2021
  • time: 12:45 pm
  • category: Economy
  • No: 18826

U.S. grants licenses for more aid flow to Afghanistan

The United States on Friday further paved the way for aid to flow to Afghanistan despite U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), issuing general licenses amid concerns that Washington’s punitive measures could compound an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it issued two general licenses, one allowing the U.S. government, NGOs and certain international organizations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the IEA or Haqqani Network – both under sanctions – that are necessary to provide humanitarian assistance.

The second license authorizes certain transactions related to the export and re-export of food, medicine and other items.

“Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs,” Andrea Gacki, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

She added that Washington will continue to work with financial institutions, NGOs and international organizations to ease the flow of agricultural goods, medicine and other resources while upholding sanctions on the IEA, Haqqani Network and others.

The United Nations said that at the start of the year more than 18 million people – about half of Afghanistan’s population – require aid amid the second drought in four years.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that Afghanistan is on “the verge of a dramatic humanitarian disaster” and has decided to engage the IEA in order to help the country’s people. 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is committed to allowing humanitarian work in Afghanistan to continue despite Washington listing the IEA as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of the IEA and bar Americans from dealing with them, including the contribution of funds, goods or services.

The licenses allow NGOs and foreign financial institutions to continue humanitarian assistance such as the delivery of food, shelter, medicine and medical services, including COVID-19 assistance, a Treasury spokesperson said.

“We have not reduced sanctions pressure on Taliban (IEA) leaders or the significant restrictions on their access to the international financial system,” the spokesperson said.

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