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World Bank to unfreeze $280m in Afghanistan funds

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KABUL: The World Bank Board has approved the transfer of $280 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to two aid agencies to help Afghanistan deal with the humanitarian crisis of brewing.

Approximately 39 million Afghans face winter due to food shortages, and poverty is widespread throughout the country.

Reuters reported that 31 donors to the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) would transfer funds to the World Food Program and UNICEF. He said he had to do it.

Reports also suggest that donors are expected to meet on Friday.

The World Bank’s board met informally on Tuesday to discuss sending up to $500 million of ARTF’s $1.5 billion to humanitarian agencies familiar with the plan.

Afghanistan’s 39 million people are in a cramped economy three months after the Taliban seized power after the collapse of the Western-backed government and the last U.S. military withdrawal from the 20-year war. Faced with a winter of food shortages and rising poverty.

Afghan experts said aid would help, but major issues remain, including how to invest money in Afghanistan without exposing the financial institutions involved in US sanctions.

U.S. Treasuries offer a “comfort letter” that guarantees banks can handle humanitarian transactions, but concerns about U.S. sanctions continue to impede the passage of even basic supplies, including food and medicine. ..

The decision to redirect ARTF funds requires the approval of all donors, the largest in the United States.

The White House and the Treasury did not have immediate comment on the World Bank’s board approval to transfer funds to the World Food Program and UNICEF.

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