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U.S. Gives Sanctions Relief to Allow Afghan Humanitarian Aid

·1-min read

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday it will accommodate humanitarian aid for Afghanistan by granting narrow relief from financial sanctions on the Taliban.

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The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a license allowing several organizations, including United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Islamic Development Bank, to work with the Taliban without violating U.S. sanctions.

Transactions with the Taliban that clear the way for the “provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan” are permitted, under the license.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told a briefing Friday that the decision will allow the U.S. government, nongovernmental organizations and others “to continue to support critical life-saving activities” in Afghanistan. The U.S. can both provide aid and restrict the Taliban, Price said, in remarks that may be intended to preempt criticism in Congress that the group would take advantage of any such assistance.

“This goes back to the core point that even as we maintain pressure on the Taliban and we continue to hold them to account to the commitments they’ve made both publicly and privately, we will not relent in our efforts to provide needed humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan,” Price said.

The militant group and many of its leaders remain under financial sanctions after taking over Afghanistan during the U.S. military withdrawal that concluded in August.

(Updates with State Department spokesman starting in fourth paragraph)

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