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World Bank Releases $1b in Aid to Taliban's Afghanistan

World Bank Releases $1b in Aid to Taliban's Afghanistan

The World Bank accepted the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s (ARTF) request for more than $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to India’s WION news site on Wednesday.

“The approach will guide the provision of over $1 billion in ARTF funds in the form of recipient-executed grants to selected United Nations agencies and international NGOs and will remain outside the control of the interim Taliban administration,” the World Bank Board of Executive Directors said in a press release on March 1.

According to the ARTF’s official website, the World Bank manages the fund on behalf of 34 contributors.

“Any move to shift ARTF funds requires the consent of all of its contributors, the largest of which has been the United States,” Reuters reports.

According to Reuters, the World Bank has approved the delivery of $280 million in ARTF assistance to Afghans.

At the time, the global lender approved ARTF’s request to send $100 million to the UN Children’s Fund and $180 million to the World Food Program (WFP) “to boost the humanitarian response throughout the critical winter months.”

World Bank allows four projects

The World Bank will enable ARTF donors to choose four projects totaling $600 million as part of its next Afghan fund allocation to address “critical needs in education, health, and agricultural sectors, as well as community livelihoods.” This portion of the $1 billion in help will be the first to be distributed, with the remainder set to be distributed in 2022 when conditions on the ground permit.

The Taliban, which controlled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, is still subject to financial restrictions imposed in 2001 by the US government and the United Nations (U.N.). According to the New York Times on August 21, 2021, the two groups have employed financial pressure against the Taliban in an effort to “starve the group of funds and limit the capacity of its commanders to travel.”

“A 2020 deal between the Trump administration and the Taliban called for a review of US sanctions against the Taliban with the objective of lifting them, but the group’s overthrow of the Afghan government makes this less probable,” the newspaper said at the time.

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