US grants licences for more aid flow to Afghanistan despite sanctions

Afghan children and women gather outside a bakery to get free bread in Kabul. — AP
Afghan children and women gather outside a bakery to get free bread in Kabul. — AP

United Nations - The licences allow NGOs and foreign financial institutions to continue humanitarian assistance



By Reuters

Published: Sat 25 Sep 2021, 1:21 AM

The United States on Friday further paved the way for aid to flow to Afghanistan despite US sanctions on the Taliban, who seized control of the country last month, issuing general licences amid concern that Washington’s punitive measures could compound an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The US Treasury Department said it issued two general licences, one allowing the US government, NGOs and certain international organisations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the Taliban or Haqqani Network — both under sanctions —that are necessary to provide humanitarian assistance.

The second licence authorises 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 US 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 organisations to ease the flow of agricultural goods, medicine and other resources while upholding sanctions on the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others.

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

Friday’s allows international organisations and NGOs to pay taxes, fees, import duties or permits, licences or other necessary transactions for assistance to reach the people of Afghanistan.

The licences 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 leaders or the significant restrictions on their access to the international financial system,” the spokesperson said.


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