US aims to prevent aid to Afghanistan going through Taliban pockets

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The US will continue to be a “very generous” donor of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and will aim to prevent any of its assistance from passing through Taliban coffers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday.

The US is taking steps to allow humanitarian work to continue in Afghanistan despite US sanctions on the Taliban, which seized power 11 days ago in a war-torn country with an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

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“We can maintain a humanitarian commitment to ... the Afghan people in ways that do not have any funding or assistance pass through the coffers of a central government,” Price told reporters. “I expect the US will continue to be a very generous donor to the Afghan people.”

The United Nations says more than 18 million people - over half of Afghanistan's population - require aid and half of all Afghan children under the age of five already suffer from acute malnutrition amid the second drought in four years.

The Taliban have said they will respect human rights and will not allow terrorists to operate from the country. The group has also encouraged aid organizations to continue their work, saying aid was welcome as long as it was not used as a means of political influence over Afghanistan.

A Taliban offensive - as foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year war - culminated with the capture of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15. US-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for the Sept. 11 attacks on the US.

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