Taliban interference in humanitarian aid “main barrier” to beneficiaries in 2023: US Report
The interference of Taliban in the humanitarian assistance has become a massive roadblock in the distribution of aid to the Afghan people in need, said the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), according to TOLO news. According to SIGAR’s quarterly report to the US Congress, “Taliban interference in humanitarian assistance is the main barrier to beneficiaries accessing aid in 2023… there were a total of 110 access incidents related to Taliban interference in April 2023 alone.” Citing the report by SIGAR, TOLO news underlined that a third-party evaluation of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), Afghanistan’s central bank, revealed that it lacked independence from the, “Taliban regime and had deficiencies in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. Half of DAB’s assets that were previously held in the United States are now a part of the Afghan Fund, a Swiss charitable fund to be used to benefit the Afghan people. Treasury has said that DAB must prove its independence and the ability to counter illicit financing before the funds can be returned,” the report said.
Many nations are cutting back on their aid to Afghanistan, according to economist Mir Shikib Mir, because of rumours that the Taliban is meddling in the aid distribution. Shikib Mir said, “The interference of the Taliban in the aid process has been repeatedly reported, and therefore, many countries have reduced their assistance due to the concerns they have,” reported TOLO news. However, the Taliban refuted all the claims and denied any kind of interference in the aid distribution process in Afghanistan.
“We deny the SIGAR report. The Islamic Emirate has no interference in distribution of aid. We have accurate monitoring on the distribution of assistance to Afghanistan,” TOLO news quoted Taliban’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Abdul Latif Nazari as saying. Notably, today all foreign aid to Afghanistan stands halted, except for the assistance that is being given to international aid agencies and NGOs to directly help the Afghan people. The sudden stopping of aid caused a severe liquidity crisis and imports of urgently needed food and medicines could not be funded.
The Afghan government collapsed on August 15 in 2021 leading to the Taliban’s taking over of the country. Taliban’s swift ascension to power in Afghanistan has triggered economic disarray and a dire humanitarian crisis in the country. Since taking control of Afghanistan, it has banned girls beyond grade six from attending schools, and simultaneously, also banned women from attending universities since December last year. The regional and international communities and the people of Afghanistan have criticised the ban on girls’ education. The Taliban has, however, not lifted the restrictions.