Donors agreed on Friday to transfer $280 million from a frozen, trust fund to the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF, according to Reuters. It will support nutrition and health in Afghanistan, the World Bank said as it seeks to help a country facing famine and economic freefall.
The World Bank-administered Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund will this year give $180 million to WFP to scale up food security and nutrition operations and $100 million to UNICEF to provide essential health services, the bank said in a statement.
Afghanistan is sinking into a severe economic and humanitarian crisis that accelerated in August when the Taliban overran the country as the Western-backed government collapsed and the last US troops withdrew.
The United States and other donors cut off financial aid on which Afghanistan became dependent during 20 years of war and more than $9 billion of the country’s hard currency assets were frozen.
The United Nations is warning that nearly 23 million people – about 55 per cent of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of famine as winter takes hold in the impoverished, landlocked country.
Using reconstruction trust fund money and channelling it through the WFP and UNICEF, both part of the UN family, appears to get funding into the country for basic needs in a manner that does not necessarily affect US sanctions against the Taliban.