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Afghanistan

World Bank chief says Afghanistan aid resumption unlikely

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World Bank President David Malpass indicated Monday that the institution is unlikely to resume direct aid to Afghanistan, after suspending financing at the end of August when the Taliban seized power.

“I would not envision us operating inside given the full breakdown” of the economy, he said in a conversation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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“One of the challenges is the payment system,” he said, noting that “there’s not the ability to have money actually flow, given what the current government is doing.”

The Washington-based development lender paused aid in August amid concerns about the security situation and women’s rights following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, saying it was “closely monitoring and assessing the situation.”

The World Bank has more than two dozen development projects ongoing in Afghanistan and has provided $5.3 billion since 2002, mostly in grants, according to the bank’s website.

The IMF also suspended aid to the country, and the Taliban has been denied access to much of Afghanistan’s $9 billion in reserves, which are held abroad, mostly in the United States.

Malpass said he had met with the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as United Nations agencies that are still working in the country.

Despite the lack of international recognition of the Taliban government, the United States allowed some exemptions to its sanctions on Afghanistan to allow humanitarian aid to enter.

Read more: Afghanistan central bank raises limit on bank withdrawals to $400 a week