U.S. advice to banks: OK to transfer aid money to Afghanistan


NEW YORK (Reuters) – International banks can transfer money to Afghanistan for humanitarian functions, and aid teams are allowed to pay academics and healthcare employees at state-run establishments with out concern of breaching sanctions on the Taliban, the United States stated on Wednesday.

The U.S. Treasury Department provided steering on sanctions exemptions issued in September and December for humanitarian work in Afghanistan, the place the United Nations says greater than half the nation’s 39 million folks undergo excessive starvation and the financial system, schooling and social providers are dealing with collapse.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres final week warned Afghanistan was “hanging by a thread.”

The Taliban, which has lengthy been blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist group, seized energy from Afghanistan’s internationally backed authorities in August. Billions of {dollars} in Afghan central financial institution reserves and worldwide improvement aid have been frozen to stop it from falling into Taliban fingers.

International banks have been cautious of Afghanistan and the United Nations and aid teams are struggling to get sufficient money into the nation to fund operations.

The U.S. Treasury stated banks can course of transactions associated to humanitarian operations “together with clearing, settlement, and transfers by means of, to, or in any other case involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan depository establishments.”

It additionally outlined permitted transactions involving the Taliban, which incorporates the additionally blacklisted Haqqani Network. These embrace signing agreements to present aid instantly to the Afghan folks, basic aid coordination, together with import administration, and sharing of workplace area.

“Payments of taxes, charges, or import duties to, or the acquisition or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility providers from” the Taliban, Haqqani Network or any entity during which they personal greater than 50% is allowed for humanitarian operations, the Treasury stated.

It additionally stated aid teams are allowed to ship money to Afghanistan for humanitarian operations and may make direct funds to healthcare employees and academics in public hospitals and colleges.

(Additional reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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