World Bank to unfreeze $280 million Afghan funds to provide much needed aid
Sanctions have left nearly half of the country's population without adequate food
By News Desk - December 11 2021

Afghanistan is in dire need of its national funds to cover the health and food requirements of its people. (Photo credit: AFP).

On 10 December, the World Bank announced that donors to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) have authorized the bank to transfer $280 million to two United Nations agencies to provide much needed humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

According to a statement by the bank’s media relations unit, the $280 million is part of ARTF funds that the bank froze when the Taliban took over the country in August 2021.

The money will be transferred to the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to enable them to scale up the provision of essential nutrition and health services to Afghans.

The World Bank said UNICEF will receive $100 million to allow it to cover the financing gaps in the provision of health services through the Sehatmandi program, which it runs jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Part of the funds will be used to provide Covid-19 vaccines to one million Afghans.

The WFP will receive $180 million to enable it to provide food aid to 2.7 million people and nutrition services to 840,000 mothers and infants.

The 20 year invasion of Afghanistan by the US and their NATO allies left the country heavily dependent on external aid. According to Afghan Analysts Network, up to 75 percent of the country’s public expenditure was funded by donors.

When the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021, the US and other donors cut off funding and imposed sanctions that made it impossible for the Taliban government to access the country’s foreign reserves.

This led to a serious humanitarian crisis that has left nearly half of the country’s population in desperate need of humanitarian aid. The droughts that have ravaged the country during the last three years have worsened the situation.

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