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The Treasury Department granted a pair of licenses Friday allowing humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan while upholding U.S. economic sanctions against the Taliban.
The waivers followed repeated pledges by President Biden and other top administration officials to maintain humanitarian aid to the Afghan people amid widespread food shortages and economic insecurity. Existing sanctions against the Taliban and some of its top leaders complicated efforts by non-governmental organizations and other aid groups to coordinate aid.
"Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs," said Andrea Gacki, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
"Treasury will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations, and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community to ease the flow of critical resources, like agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need, while upholding and enforcing our sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other sanctioned entities," Gacki added.
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The Biden administration froze Afghanistan’s U.S.-based assets following the Taliban’s stunning takeover of the country last month. Top U.S. officials have pledged to maintain financial pressure on the group and have warned of consequences if it reneges on its commitments to uphold international standards towards Afghanistan’s populace.
Earlier this month, the United Nations warned Afghanistan was on the brink of "universal poverty." The U.N. has called on the international community to provide aid to help the population with necessities.
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But critics, including several Republican lawmakers, have demanded the Biden administration ensure that humanitarian aid, especially relief funds, cannot be used by the Taliban. GOP officials have argued the Taliban could use funding to rebuild its military arsenal.
Earlier this month, members of the House Republican Study Committee pressured the Biden administration on Thursday to reveal whether it has offered financial concessions to the Taliban in exchange for safe passage for Americans still in Afghanistan. The lawmakers argued humanitarian aid could serve as a "payment of ransom" to the group.
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