The leadership of the World Bank, which froze its aid to Afghanistan at the end of August after the Taliban movement regained power, decided to provide humanitarian assistance to this country using funds allocated to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), according to a source familiar with the file.
The source said, on condition of anonymity, that “the leadership of the World Bank will discuss with the Board of Directors the options available to change the direction of using funds allocated to the ARTF, to support humanitarian efforts through the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies.”
He added that the issue of logistical capabilities will also be discussed during this “informal” meeting, at the conclusion of which no “decision or announcement” will be issued.
The source explained that “decisions will be taken by all donors in the ARTF during follow-up discussions.”
The ARTF is a multi-donor trust fund that coordinates international assistance to improve the lives of millions of Afghans.
The World Bank manages this fund on behalf of the 34 donors, according to its website.
Until the Taliban seized power in Kabul, the ARTF remained the largest source of financing for development in Afghanistan, as it financed up to 30% of Afghanistan’s budget and supported basic government jobs, according to the same source.
Since 2002, the ARTF has provided support through national programs such as reducing infant mortality and improving children’s education.
At the end of August, the World Bank announced the suspension of its aid to Afghanistan, while stressing that it was looking at “ways to remain committed to continuing to support the Afghan people.”
Three months after the Taliban’s return to power, the Afghan people are facing a severe economic crisis, food shortages and increasing poverty rates.
One of the main challenges is how to get the money to Afghanistan without the financial institutions being subjected to the US sanctions imposed on the Taliban.
It is noteworthy that the United Nations warned of an economic downturn in Afghanistan due to the freezing of Afghan financial assets worth billions of dollars.
The United Nations said the move would push millions of Afghans into poverty, hunger and unemployment