The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses (GLs) on Friday, to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan. According to the US Treasury, the action continues the US government’s longstanding practice of allowing the provision of humanitarian goods and services to areas affected by US sanctions. The US Treasury said that it will ensure that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian support from the US government and international community, while denying assets to the Taliban and other sanctioned entities and individuals.
The Treasury expressed its resolve that it will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations, and NGOs to ease the flow of critical resources, such as agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need in Afghanistan. According to reports, the US administration issued two General License (GL-14 and GL-15) for provision of humanitarian assistance and authorizes certain transactions related to the exportation or re-exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices as well as replacement parts, components, and software updates for medical devices.
The United States had imposed sanctions against Taliban, Haqqani network and other militant groups in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks. However, as the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in mid-August this year, the United States government revived previously imposed sanctions against the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. The revival of sanctions by the United States and its allies has created serious financial difficulties for the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan. The freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves in the American Central Bank and a pause to the IMF’s program, shortage of food supply and medicines amid rising COVID-19 attacks in most parts of the country had pushed Afghanistan into a humanitarian crisis. Currently, 18.4 million Afghans are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance including medicines to combat the COVID-19 challenge and to cater the huge displacement issue. The international donors conference under UN patronage has pledged $ 1.1 billion for Afghanistan. The Taliban government has also made an appeal to the US and international community to release more than $ 10 billion foreign assets of Afghanistan. In fact, US legislative action would speed up the humanitarian work of the international community in the war-torn Country and will play a vital role in reducing the miseries of the people of Afghanistan.