US issues sanctions exemptions to allow Afghanistan aid
The United States on Friday announced two exemptions to its sanctions imposed on Afghanistan in a bid to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into the conflict-wracked, Taliban-controlled country.
The provisions allow the US government, aid groups and international organizations "to engage in the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs" there, the US Treasury said in a statement.
They also allow "certain transactions related to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices," the statement said.
"Treasury will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations and the nongovernmental organization community to ease the flow of critical resources, like agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need," said Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
However, Washington will continue "upholding and enforcing our sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and other sanctioned entities."
Faced with sanctions and a cutoff in foreign aid following the Taliban's takeover of the country last month, Afghanistan is facing a mounting economic crisis as fuel and food prices rise and cash runs short.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank suspended activities in the country following the Taliban takeover, which meant withholding aid as well as $340 million in new reserves issued by the IMF last month.
Washington is also blocking access to much of the $9 billion in Afghan reserves held overseas, fueling the cash crunch that the ousted government's central bank chief warns could create an economic crisis.