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World Bank supports access to $280 million in frozen aid funds for Afghanistan

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Afghanistan: Taliban occupy the country after withdrawal of US-led foreign forces.

The World Bank’s board is backing the transfer of $280 million from frozen trust funds to two aid agencies to help Afghanistan deal with the humanitarian crisis following the US withdrawal, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. .

The 31 donors to the World Bank-administered Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) will have to approve the transfer before the funds can flow to the World Food Program and UNICEF, sources said, adding that the donors were expected to meet on Friday.

The World Bank board met informally on Tuesday to discuss transferring up to $500 million of the $1.5 billion in ARTF to humanitarian aid agencies, people familiar with the plan previously told Reuters.

Afghanistan’s 39 million people are facing a dilapidated economy, food shortages and rising poverty three months after the Taliban seized power as the last US troops withdrew from the 20-year war.

Afghan experts have said the aid will help, but bigger questions remain, including how to get money into Afghanistan without exposing any financial institutions involved in US sanctions.

While the US Treasury has provided “letters of comfort” assuring banks that they can process human transactions, concerns about US sanctions continue to stifle even basic supplies, including food and medicine.

Any decision to redirect ARTF funds requires the approval of all of its donors, of which the United States has been the largest.

The White House and the Treasury did not immediately comment on the World Bank board’s support for the World Food Program and the transfer of funds to UNICEF.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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