(Photo credit: CGTN)
The World Bank is set to return a reported $600 million from a frozen Afghanistan trust fund to allow the country’s authorities to fund education, agriculture, health, and family programs.
Officials are set to debate the plan on 1 March, and the final decision on the disbursement, according to Reuters, will be made by donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which is administered by World Bank.
The plan calls to bypass sanctioned Taliban authorities by disbursing the money through UN agencies, including UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), amid growing concerns about Afghanistan’s collapsing economy.
Reuters also says the plan will make over $1 billion available to the war-torn country over the 2022 calendar year.
Last December, $280 million frozen Afghan funds were successfully disbursed through the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF.
In the weeks after this initial disbursement UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Security Council to free up the remaining $1.2 billion frozen ARTF funds to help Afghans survive the harsh winter.
The organization has already warned that nearly 23 million people are facing extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of starvation.
The economic crisis in the country took a severe downturn last August following the Taliban’s victory against the US-backed government, when Washington froze nearly $10 billion in Afghan foreign reserves and pushed for its allies to do the same.
On top of this, US officials recently announced that $3.5 billion of Afghanistan’s frozen foreign reserves will be given to the victims of the 11 September Al-Qaeda attacks in New York, in a move strongly condemned by Taliban officials and Afghan citizens.
The World Bank plan to release Afghan funds coincides with an announcement by Afghanistan’s Central Bank saying it is set to auction $10 million worth of assets on 20 February.