Humanitarian aid may be released to Afghanistan by the World Bank: Reports

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Nov 30, 2021, 07:36 AM(IST)

Afghan people sit besides sacks of food grains distributed as an aid by the World Food Programme (WFP) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. According to the United Nations, around 22 million Afghans, or more than half of the country, will experience a severe food shortage this winter as a result of drought caused by global warming and an economic crisis aggravated by the Taliban's takeover. Photograph:( AFP )

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The financial crisis worsened when Washington froze about $10 billion of Afghanistan's reserves and further deteriorated when the World Bank and  International Monetary Fund blocked Afghanistan's access to funding

In a compromise plan, the World Bank may divert funds intended for rebuilding efforts to humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, reports claim.

In an informal board meeting on Tuesday, the bank's management intends to discuss the proposal to re-direct funds from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) to support humanitarian efforts through the UN and other humanitarian agencies with presence and logistic capabilities in Afghanistan.

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According to the United Nations, around 22 million Afghans, or more than half of the country, will experience a severe food shortage this winter as a result of drought caused by global warming and an economic crisis aggravated by the Taliban's takeover.

The financial crisis worsened when Washington froze about $10 billion of Afghanistan's reserves and further deteriorated when the World Bank and  International Monetary Fund blocked Afghanistan's access to funding.

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In a Reuters report citing people familiar with the plan, the news agency reports that the World Bank plan is part of a compromise between the United Nations and the US government. This decision could result in a $500 million transfer from the ARTF to humanitarian groups.

If the aid would be unlocked, the Taliban would be bypassed. Donors of the ARTF, however, will determine the next steps and timing of the release.

In 2002, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) was established. It is a multi-donor trust fund that coordinates international aid to help millions of Afghans. World Bank manages the ARTF on behalf of 34 donors.

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According to the ARTF website this fund "is the largest single source of funding for Afghanistan’s development, financing up to 30 per cent of Afghanistan’s civilian budget, and supporting core functions of the government". 

ARTF has partnered with public programs since 2002 to reduce infant mortality and increase education enrolment.

(With inputs from agencies)

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