World Bank backs using $280 million in frozen aid funds for Afghanistan

Afghanistan World Bank

According to news, the World Bank board has approved releasing $280 million from a frozen trust fund to two aid agencies to assist Afghanistan deal with a looming humanitarian disaster following the US exit.

Before funds may move to the World Food Programme and UNICEF, the 31 donors to the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) must approve the transfer, according to the sources. The donors were scheduled to meet today (Friday), according to the sources.

According to individuals familiar with the initiative, the World Bank board gathered informally to consider moving up to $500 million from the $1.5 billion in the ARTF to humanitarian aid agencies.

Read more: Pakistan permits India to transport 50,000 tonnes of wheat, medicine to Afghanistan

Three months after the Taliban took power as the last U.S. forces exited from a 20-year war, Afghanistan’s 39 million people confront a collapsing economy, a winter of food shortages, and rising poverty.

The aid would help, according to Afghan analysts, but there are still many questions, such as how to transfer funds into Afghanistan without putting any financial institutions connected to US sanctions.

While the US Treasury has issued “comfort letters” promising banks that humanitarian transactions can be processed, concerns about US sanctions continue to obstruct the passage of even essential commodities such as food and medication.

Any decision to redirect ARTF funds must be approved by all of the organization’s donors, the largest of which is the United States.

Meanwhile, a World Bank representative acknowledged that the subject had been considered by the bank’s board of directors, and that the donors would meet on Friday.

According to the spokesperson, the board “discussed a way to move funds from the ARTF to humanitarian aid organizations with presence and logistics on the ground to enable basic humanitarian support directly to the people in the nation.” “On December 3, the ARTF Donors’ Steering Committee will meet to discuss transfers out of the fund.”

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