UPDATE 2-US grants licenses to increase aid flow to Afghanistan despite sanctions
(A spokesperson adds that the United States has not reduced the pressure of sanctions on the Taliban leadership)
By DaphnÃ© Psaledakis
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday paved the way for aid to flow to Afghanistan despite U.S. sanctions against the Taliban, which took control of the country last month, issuing general licenses, fearing that Washington’s punitive measures could exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The US Treasury Department said it has issued two general licenses, one allowing the US government, NGOs and some international organizations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the Taliban or the Haqqani network – all two under sanctions – which are necessary to provide humanitarian aid. .
The second license authorizes certain transactions related to the export and re-export of food, medicine and other items.
âThe Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and other activities that meet their basic human needs,â said Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury, in the press release.
She added that Washington will continue to work with financial institutions, NGOs and international organizations to facilitate the flow of agricultural products, medicines and other resources while maintaining sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani network and others. .
The United Nations said that at the start of the year, more than 18 million people – about half of the Afghan population – needed help amid the second drought in four years.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said last week that Afghanistan was “on the brink of a dramatic humanitarian catastrophe” and decided to engage the Taliban to help the people of the country.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it is determined to allow humanitarian work in Afghanistan to continue despite Washington’s listing of the Taliban as a specially designated global terrorist group.
The sanctions freeze all American assets of the militant Islamist group and prohibit Americans from doing business with them, including the contribution of funds, goods or services.
Reuters reported last month that Washington had issued a license allowing the US government and its partners to continue facilitating humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.
Friday’s decision extends this specific license, allowing international organizations and NGOs to pay taxes, fees, import duties or permits, licenses or other transactions necessary for aid to reach the Afghan people. .
The licenses allow NGOs and foreign financial institutions to continue humanitarian aid such as the delivery of food, shelter, medicine and medical services, including COVID-19 assistance, a spokesperson for the Treasure.
“We have not reduced the pressure of sanctions on Taliban leaders or the severe restrictions on their access to the international financial system,” the spokesperson said.
A Taliban offensive as foreign forces retreated from Afghanistan after a 20-year war that culminated in the capture of the capital Kabul on August 15, two decades after being ousted from power by a US-led campaign. United in the aftermath of September 11. attacks on the United States. (Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)