Afghanistan to receive more than $1 billion in aid from the World Bank; funds to bypass Taliban

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Updated: Mar 02, 2022, 01:49 PM(IST)

By bypassing sanctioned Taliban authorities and disbursing money through UN agencies and international aid groups, the plan will provide a significant boost to efforts to ease the country's worsening humanitarian and economic crises. Photograph:( AFP )

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Last year, when the Taliban overran Kabul as the last international troops departed after 20 years of war, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) was frozen

A plan to use more than $1 billion from a frozen Afghanistan trust fund to finance education, agriculture, health, and family programmes was approved by the World Bank's executive board on Tuesday, the bank announced.

By bypassing sanctioned Taliban authorities and disbursing money through UN agencies and international aid groups, the plan will provide a significant boost to efforts to ease the country's worsening humanitarian and economic crises.

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The approach "aims to support the delivery of essential basic services, protect vulnerable Afghans, help preserve human capital and key economic and social services, and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the future," the bank said in a statement.

Last year, when the Taliban overran Kabul as the last international troops departed after 20 years of war, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) was frozen.

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While foreign governments ended financial aid, which accounted for more than 70 per cent of Afghan government expenditures, the United States spearheaded the freezing of about $9 billion of Afghan central bank assets.

The cuts accelerated an economic collapse, leading to a cash crunch and a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations says has put more than half of Afghanistan's 39 million people at risk of starvation.

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In a statement, the World Bank said donors would decide, as a first step, on four projects valued at about $600 million that would address "urgent needs in education, health and agricultural sectors, as well as community livelihoods."

The statement said "strong focus on ensuring that girls and women participate and benefit from the support." 

Since the Taliban took to power 20 years ago, women's rights have been eroded. They've lost many of the rights gained during the last two decades, such as the right to work and to travel without close male relatives.

Since the Taliban took over, most girls are not allowed to attend school past seventh grade. Islamist extremists claim that all girls will be allowed to return to class later this month.

(With inputs from agencies)

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