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US may ease sanctions as hunger soars in Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL: The US government is considering easing financial sanctions to pave the ground for delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

The curbs were imposed on the impoverished country, whose assets worth $9.5billion were also frozen after the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

Speaking to a group of reporters in Islamabad on Monday, a State Department official suggested the US would allow more cash flows into Afghanistan.

A leading Pakistani newspaper quoted the official as saying that more private remittances would be allowed into the cash-strapped country.

On Sunday, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) promised making efforts for the release Da Afghanistan Bank reserves and easing f the biting US sanctions on the Taliban.

If made flexible, the sanctions will not impede the provision of humanitarian aid or economic resources to Afghan institutions, such as schools and hospitals.

Dawn quoted the US official as saying: “We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for cash to flow in larger quantities inside the country.

“The Taliban are coordinating in this endeavor. They are not looking for cash and we are watching them very carefully.”

Washington is expected to issue more licenses soon to allow personal remittances to flow into Afghanistan. Three such licenses have already been issued by the US.

However, the US would like to have a monitoring mechanism in place to prevent the transferred money from being redirected to terrorist groups.

Immediate release of the Afghan assets was not possible, the official said, explaining the unblocking process involved court cases.

He urged greater regional and international support for Afghanistan to stave off the humanitarian crisis.

While ruling out the reopening of the US embassy in Kabul in near future, he said engagement with technocrats in the Afghan government would begin.

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