World Bank announces more than $1 billion in aid for Afghanistan

By: AFP
Published: 11:16 AM, 2 Mar, 2022
World Bank announces more than $1 billion in aid for Afghanistan
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The World Bank on Tuesday announced more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, stating the money will go to UN agencies and international NGOs while remaining "outside the control" of the country's Taliban rulers.

The reallocation from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) follows the $280 million in ARTF funds disbursed last December, and is aimed at supporting the humanitarian response over the critical winter months.

The funds, to be delivered in the form of grants, aim "to support the delivery of essential basic services, protect vulnerable Afghans, help preserve human capital and key economic and social services and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the future," the Washington-based lender said in a statement.

The bank suspended its aid to Kabul late last August after the hardline Islamist Taliban swept back into power.

ARTF is a multi-donor fund that coordinates international aid to improve the lives of millions of Afghans. It is administered by the World Bank on behalf of donor partners.

Until the Taliban took over, the ARTF was the largest source of development funding for Afghanistan, financing up to 30 percent of the government's budget.

Because the World Bank is unable to provide money directly to the Taliban regime -- which is not recognized by the international community -- it has redirected the funds to organizations like UN childrens agency UNICEF in response to the humanitarian crisis.

Afghanistan's population has faced food shortages and mounting poverty since the Taliban took over.

The objective of the new aid is to "protect vulnerable Afghans (and) help preserve human capital and key economic and social services," the World Bank said.

Afghanistan, Myanmar to vote against Russia at UN

Afghanistan and Myanmar are to vote for a United Nations General Assembly resolution denouncing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to diplomats.

Afghanistan -- ruled by the Taliban -- and Myanmar, which is run by a military junta, are represented at the UN by ambassadors appointed by the countries' previous democratically elected governments that were overthrown last year.

The Taliban and Myanmar's military rulers have named their own UN ambassadors but they have not been recognized by the world body.

The resolution is being led by European countries in coordination with Ukraine.

Afghanistan and Myanmar are co-sponsors, according to a preliminary list of speakers seen by AFP, showing the two countries intend to support the resolution this week rather than vote against or abstain.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike those approved by the Security Council, but a strong vote in favor will highlight Russia's isolation on the world stage.

Almost 100 out of the 193 countries at the UN have co-sponsored the resolution, which was sparked by Russia using its veto to block a similar resolution at the Security Council last week.

Moscow will not be able to rely on the support of its ally Venezuela during the meeting, as the South American country's right to vote has been suspended for several years because of debts owed to the UN that today exceed $40 million.

The resolution, obtained by AFP, "condemns" Russia's "decision to increase the readiness of its nuclear forces."

It also calls for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and reaffirms Ukraine's sovereignty.

Two-thirds of members must vote in favor for the motion to pass.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.