The US authorized certain transactions with the Taliban (banned in Russia) that are normally restricted in order to allow for the flow of humanitarian aid into Afghanistan, the Treasury Department said on Friday.
“Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses (GLs) to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan,” the Treasury Department said.
The first GL lifts restrictions on certain transactions with the group in order to get necessary humanitarian assistance to authorized groups including the US government, United Nations, Red Cross, and other nongovernmental organizations.
The second specifically authorizes transactions with the Taliban and Haqqani Network that involve exporting agricultural supplies, medical supplies, and other essential goods to Afghanistan. Covered items under the order include food, bottled water, animals, seeds, and fertilizers, as well as medicine and medical devices.
Treasury noted that the changes do not relieve any individual from compliance with other federal laws relating to transactions with sanctioned foreign entities, but that for transactions not otherwise authorized or exempt, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian assistance.
On Thursday, the UN’s food and agricultural agency called on the G20’s foreign ministers to support local food producers in Afghanistan’s rural areas, where 70% of the population resides.
The wheat harvest in 2021 is expected to be a quarter less than on average, due to war and a drought that has hit 25 provinces out of 34. The FAO is still rendering financial assistance to over 1.9 million people in need, and has made an appeal for extra $36 million to provide Afghans with “fertilizers, seeds and livestock protection.”
Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Sputnik it was essential to prevent a catastrophic humanitarian situation from unfolding in Afghanistan following the country’s takeover by the Taliban last month.