United States formalizes guidelines for allowing personal remittances to Afghanistan

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A crowd gathers around a makeshift wrestling arena at the cricket ground in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 15, 2021. REUTERS / Jorge Silva / File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Dec.10 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday formalized guidelines allowing personal remittances to Afghanistan, offering protection to senders and financial institutions against U.S. sanctions against the Taliban as the country faces to a worsening humanitarian crisis and economic collapse.

The Treasury Department has issued a general license authorizing transactions involving the United States blacklisted Taliban or the Haqqani Network that are incidental and necessary to the transfer of non-commercial personal funds to Afghanistan, including through the United States. intermediary of Afghan depositories.

The license, which formalizes existing guidance given to financial institutions, is being implemented with the aim of ensuring that people can continue to send aid to their families in Afghanistan, a treasury spokesperson told Reuters.

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Remittances from family and friends abroad have become essential lifelines for many Afghans struggling to buy food and meet other expenses amid the economic crisis that has unfolded. accelerated when the Taliban seized power in August as the former Western-backed government collapsed and the last US troops withdrew.

The United States and other donors cut back the financial aid the country became dependent on during two decades of war with Islamist militants, and more than $ 9 billion in hard currency holdings from Afghanistan were frozen.

The United Nations warns nearly 23 million people – about 55% of the population – face extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of famine as winter sets in in this impoverished landlocked country .

While the US Treasury has provided “comfort letters” assuring banks they can process humanitarian transactions, concerns over US sanctions continue to impede the passage of even basic supplies, including food and medicine. .

“US sanctions against the Taliban are not the cause of the calamities facing the Afghan economy, and these additional authorizations will not solve the root causes of the situation,” the spokesperson said.

Western Union Co (WU.N) and MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O) resumed their money transfer services to Afghanistan in September after suspending their services after Islamist militia captured Kabul at speeding l ‘flash.

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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