30 Nov 2021, 09:58

World Bank considers releasing humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

  WASHINGTON, Nov 30, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The World Bank will consider a
compromise plan to release humanitarian aid for Afghanistan by shifting funds
intended for rebuilding efforts, a source told AFP Monday.

   The bank's management will discuss the proposal at an informal board
meeting on Tuesday to re-direct funds from the Afghanistan Reconstruction
Trust Fund (ARTF) "to support humanitarian efforts through UN and other
humanitarian agencies with presence and logistic capabilities in the
country," the source said, without providing further details.

   The United Nations has warned that around 22 million Afghans, or more than
half the country, will face an "acute" food shortage in the winter months due
to the combined effects of drought caused by global warming and an economic
crisis aggravated by the Taliban takeover in August.

   The financial crunch worsened after Washington froze about $10 billion of
the country's reserves and deteriorated further after the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund halted Afghanistan's access to funding.

   The World Bank move is part of a compromise struck with the United Nations
and the US government, and could shift up to $500 million from the ARTF to
humanitarian groups, according to a report by the Reuters news agency citing
people familiar with the plan.

   That would unlock aid but bypass the Taliban.

   The next steps and timing of the release would be up to the ARTF donors,
the source told AFP.

   The fund currently has 34 donors and was "the largest single source of
funding for Afghanistan's development, financing up to 30 percent of
Afghanistan's civilian budget, and supporting core functions of the
government," according to the website.

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