Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New Treasury waivers allow U.S. to send aid to Afghans despite sanctions

Photo of people in a riverbed

Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury said Friday that it has issued licenses allowing the U.S. government, NGOs and international organizations like the United Nations to engage in transactions with the Taliban or Haqqani Network to provide humanitarian assistance despite U.S. sanctions on the two militant groups.

Why it matters: There's growing concern that the punitive measures could exacerbate the crisis in Afghanistan, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: "Treasury remains committed to ensuring that U.S. sanctions do not limit the ability of civilians located in Afghanistan to receive humanitarian support from the United States government and international community," the department said in a release.

  • The move will help "ease the flow of critical resources, like agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need, while upholding and enforcing our sanctions," Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki added in a statement.

The big picture: The Taliban's takeover has put over one million children in danger of extreme hunger, according to the UN, and 14 million are facing "severe hunger."

  • The World Health Organization has warned that Afghanistan's health care system is on the "brink of collapse."
  • Recent surveys found that only 5% of households have enough to eat every day, while half reported running out of food altogether at least once in the past two weeks, the UN World Food Programme said on Wednesday.

Editor’s note: The headline has been edited to clarify that the licenses are part of sanction waivers, and aid will go to organizations and NGOs to aid Afghans.

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