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Withholding financial aid may worsen the situation in Afghanistan

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Ground Report | New Delhi: Withholding financial aid; UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said on Thursday that a decision to stop funding to Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from accessing money would do more harm than good to the people.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council that although there are concerns about the Taliban government, the country is in dire need of funding and to ensure its continuation.

“The economy needs to be allowed to breathe for a few more months, which could give the Taliban a real opportunity to show resilience and act differently this time,” Lyons said. He said that money is needed in the context of human rights, women’s rights, and counter-terrorism. 

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Withholding financial aid

Lyons told the 15-member UN Security Council that the withholding of funds would “start a series of severe economic downturns that could lead to further poverty and hunger for millions.” He said this could lead to another large influx of refugees from Afghanistan. And, in fact it could push Afghanistan back for generations.

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He said there was an urgent need to send money to Afghanistan “to avoid a complete collapse of the economy and social order”. Significantly, America has decided to withdraw about nine billion dollars from Afghanistan for the time being.

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Most of the money is deposited in the Federal Banks of New York. The Biden administration says it wants to see what the Taliban does and a decision will be taken based on that. Most of the Taliban’s money is outside their own national bank, and the Taliban do not yet have access to the International Monetary Fund.

Afghanistan has so far relied heavily on foreign aid and most countries have withheld it. According to Lyons, the current situation is that the officials are not able to pay the salaries of government employees.

China criticized America

Meanwhile, China has rapidly established diplomatic ties with the Taliban and on Thursday announced $31 million in economic aid to Afghanistan. China says the US is using the assets of the Afghan central bank as a bargaining chip, ultimately harming the Afghan people.

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China’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Jing Shuang, said: “These assets belong to Afghanistan and should be used for Afghanistan, not to threaten.”

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