Treasury clears Afghanistan humanitarian aid while maintaining Taliban sanctions

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Repeated pledges followed by President Biden and other top officials to continue aid

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The Treasury Department granted a pair of licenses Friday allowing humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan while upholding US economic sanctions against the Taliban.

Repeated pledges followed by President Biden and other top administration officials to maintain humanitarian aid to the Afghan people amid widespread food shortages and economic insecurity. Current sanctions against the Taliban and some of its top leaders have complicated efforts by non-governmental organizations and other aid groups to coordinate aid.

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“The Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic humanitarian needs,” said Andrea Gacki, director of the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“The Treasury will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations and the non-governmental organization (NGO) community to reduce the flow of critical resources such as agricultural goods, medicine and other essential supplies, while maintaining our need and sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other sanctioned entities,” Gaki said.

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The Biden administration sealed off US-based assets in Afghanistan after the Taliban took the country by surprise last month. Top US officials have promised to keep financial pressure on the group and have warned of consequences if they go back on their commitments to uphold international standards for Afghanistan’s population.

Earlier this month, the United Nations warned that Afghanistan was on the verge of “universal poverty”. The United Nations has called on the international community to provide assistance to help with the needs of the population.

But critics, including several Republican lawmakers, have called on the Biden administration to ensure that humanitarian aid, especially relief funds, cannot be used by the Taliban. GOP officials have argued the Taliban could use the money to rebuild their military arsenal.

Earlier this month, members of the House Republican Study Committee on Thursday pressured the Biden administration to explain whether it had made financial concessions to the Taliban in exchange for a safe passage for Americans still in Afghanistan. Lawmakers argued that humanitarian aid could serve as a “ransom payment” to the group.


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