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What does the issuance of supplementary general licenses mean for Afghanistan ?, South Asia News


The United States has issued at least five general licenses that essentially allow American citizens, aid organizations and other organizations to make transfers to Afghanistan for “specified purposes.” But what do these general licenses mean, here’s a breakdown.

The first general license, general license number 15 was issued on September 24 of this year, it gave an exemption in fact an authorization to carry out transactions related to the export or re-export of agricultural products, medicines, medical devices, replacement of parts and / or components and even software upgrades.

The agricultural product was defined in more detail, as were the drugs and medicinal devices in the prescription.

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The perception the United States gave through the first license was that it was ready to help the Afghan people who continued to live miserable lives in the war-torn country after the Taliban took control.

Two and a half months later, December 2021 saw the United States show more leniency, in the first general license issued for the month of December and the second general license over the whole of Afghanistan, license number 16 authorized the transfer of non-commercial property and personal remittances to Afghanistan.

On December 22, the United States issued three more general licenses to make life easier for the Afghan people and allowed U.S. government employees, beneficiaries or contractors to transact with entities related to the Taliban or the Haqqani network, for official business purposes in the general license. number 17.

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On the same date, General Licenses Number 18 authorized the United Nations, including its programs, funds and other entities and bodies, as well as its specialized agencies and related organizations, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) , and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); The African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), including any fund entity administered or established by one of the aforementioned entities; The International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and the Islamic Development Bank to transact with the Taliban or the Haqqani network as entities for official business purposes.

The latest general license issued by the US Treasury on Afghanistan bringing its number of general licenses for Afghanistan to five, that is, general license number 19 which essentially took the handcuffs off aid organizations authorizing transactions with the Taliban or the Haqqani network as entities for; Support activities for humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Afghanistan, including drought and flood relief; distribution of food, nutrition and medicine; provision of health services; assistance to vulnerable or displaced populations, including people with disabilities, the elderly and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence; and environmental programs; Activities to support the following in Afghanistan: rule of law, citizen participation, government accountability and transparency, human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to information and civil society development projects; Support activities for education in Afghanistan, including the fight against illiteracy, improving access to education, international exchanges and assistance for education reform projects; Activities aimed at supporting non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the Afghan people, particularly in the areas of health, food security, water supply and sanitation; and Activities aimed at supporting the protection of the environment and natural resources in Afghanistan, including the preservation and protection of threatened or endangered species, the responsible and transparent management of natural resources and the remediation of pollution or other environmental damage.

The other more relevant question is why a general license was issued, the answer to this question is that, since the Taliban is currently a listed organization, both in the UN and in the United States, no direct transactions would therefore not be possible. However, in accordance with the law, these general licenses act as a catalyst or an exemption for an indefinite period.

The United States has pledged a total of $ 474 million in aid to Afghanistan, the highest of any country. Earlier this week, a senior US official told this correspondent that the United States had quietly worked behind the scenes with the UN and other international organizations to pump money into the Afghan system, one example being the $ 200 million injected into the Afghan system for the use of UN staff, very recently.

These licenses were reflected by the United Nations Sanctions Committee in a resolution on the same day, which means that under the United Nations charter, it allows UN member countries to do business with the Taliban. or Haqqani according to the parameters defined previously.

The guidelines for doing business with the Taliban are very clearly stated, that it must be on an entity basis and not on an individual basis, so although entities can be run by prohibited individuals, doing business with the office are allowed but not with the individual.

To put it simply, as an example, Sirajuddin Haqqani of the Haqqani network could be a person listed by both the US and the UN both, the other reality is that Sirajuddin Haqqani is also the Home Secretary. Taliban who ruled Afghanistan, while the transfer would not be allowed to Sirajuddin Haqqani as an individual, his ministry may well have funds or transactions under this set of rules, as defined in the general licenses issued.

The Taliban and the international community have long pressured the United States to release the “frozen Afghan assets they harbor” after the Taliban took control of the country. these assets as they were withheld due to a court order.


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