Two well-informed sources said that the World Bank Board agreed to transfer $280 million from a trust fund for Afghanistan, whose funds were frozen, to two relief agencies to help the country.
This diversion aims to help Afghanistan overcome the effects of its deteriorating economy in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of power and the withdrawal of the United States.
The two sources indicated that the 31 donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, which is managed by the World Bank, must agree to the transfer before the funds can reach the World Food Program and the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF.
Sources added that the donors are expected to meet on Friday.
Afghan experts have said the aid would help, but big questions remain, including how to get funds into Afghanistan without exposing any financial institutions involved to U.S. sanctions.
While the U.S. Treasury has provided “comfort letters” assuring banks that they can process humanitarian transactions, concern about U.S. sanctions continues to prevent the passage of even basic supplies, including food and medicine.
Any decision to redirect ARTF money requires the approval of all its donors, of which the United States has been the largest.