Bypassing the Taliban: Afghanistan should receive World Bank aid

Bypassing the Taliban
Afghanistan should receive World Bank aid

Since the Taliban came to power, no more payments from the Afghanistan Relief Fund have flown into the country. Now that the population is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, the World Bank wants to release funds. But they should not go through the hands of the new government.

According to insiders, the World Bank wants to use up to half a billion dollars from a withheld aid fund for humanitarian purposes in Afghanistan. A corresponding proposal had been worked out with US and UN representatives in the past few weeks and should be discussed informally today, according to the Reuters news agency.

The money from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) should be used in particular for health care, bypassing the radical Islamic Taliban. On the other hand, there are currently no plans to provide for teachers and other civil servants. The US State Department confirmed discussions with the World Bank and other donors about the use of the ARTF.

“The proposal provides that the World Bank transfers the money to the UN and other humanitarian organizations, without any control or accountability,” it said from inside circles. “But it doesn’t say anything about the financial sector or how the money should get into the country.” The US sanctions are a major obstacle. The US Treasury Department has assured banks that they are allowed to conduct humanitarian business. However, fear of punishment still means that even basic supplies do not get into the country.

“It’s a scorched earth approach,” the source told Reuters. Strict sanctions and neglect of civil servants would lead to “more refugees, more despair, more extremism”. The ARTF was founded in 2002 and is administered by the World Bank. Payouts have been suspended since the Taliban came to power at the end of August. Three months later, the 39 million people in Afghanistan are facing an economic crisis, winter food shortages and increasing poverty.

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