World Bank Approved Release of $280M in Aid to Afghanistan
Sources report that the World Bank Board has approved the transfer of $280 million from a frozen Afghanistan trust fund to two relief agencies to aid the country.
The World Bank's board of directors has approved the transfer of $280 million from a frozen trust fund to two assistance organizations to aid Afghanistan in dealing with a looming humanitarian disaster.
The 31 contributors to the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) must authorize the transfer before monies can move to the World Food Program and UNICEF, two persons familiar with the matter said.
According to persons familiar with the initiative, the World Bank board met Tuesday to consider moving up to $500 million from the $1.5 billion in the ARTF to humanitarian aid organizations.
Three months after the Taliban seized power as the last US forces withdrew from a 20-year occupation, Afghanistan's 39 million people population face a collapsing economy, a winter of food shortages, and rising poverty.
The aid would help, according to Afghan analysts, but there are still many questions, such as how to transfer funds into Afghanistan without exposing any financial institutions implicated in US sanctions.
While the US Treasury has issued "comfort letters" promising banks that humanitarian transactions can be processed, concerns about US sanctions continue to obstruct the passage of even essential commodities such as food and medication.
Any decision to redirect ARTF funds must be approved by all of the organization's donors, the largest of which is the US.
The White House and the fed did not respond to a request for comment on the World Bank board's approval of the cash being transferred to the World Food Programme and UNICEF.
A World Bank representative acknowledged that the subject had been considered by the bank's board of directors and that the donors would meet on Friday.