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US still holds nearly R153bn of Afghan assets frozen from Taliban, says banks may send humanitarian aid

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A displaced Afghan woman holds her child as she waits outside a UNCHR distribution center outside Kabul.
REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo
  • The US said banks and aid groups can send money to Afghanistan without violating sanctions.
  • Money stopped going to Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. It now faces a humanitarian crisis.
  • The US froze almost $10 billion (around R153 billion) of Afghanistan's assets to keep it out of Taliban hands.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The US said banks and aid groups were allowed to send money to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes as it continues to keep nearly $10 billion (around R153 billion) of Afghan assets frozen from the Taliban.

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that transferring money to Afghanistan to help civilians would not violate the sanctions put on the country after the Taliban takeover last August.

Afghanistan faces a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban seized control and money from overseas sources stopped coming in.

Some aid groups stopped sending money to Afghanistan due to the Taliban being in power, and the US froze around $9.5 billion (R153 billion) in assets belonging to Afghanistan's central bank to stop the Taliban from accessing it.

The UN has since warned that millions of people could starve in Afghanistan, and some parents are reportedly selling their children because they need money so badly.

The Treasury said on Wednesday that banks can transfer money to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes, and aid groups can support clean water projects and pay teachers and healthcare workers at state-run institutions without violating sanctions.

Banks can process transactions related to humanitarian work, "including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan depository institutions," the department said.


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