Afghanistan: UN adopts resolution facilitating humanitarian aid

The Security Council of the UN adopted, this Wednesday unanimously, a resolution proposed by the United States which facilitates for one year humanitarian aid to l ‘Afghanistan , on the brink of economic collapse, hoping the Taliban will not profit from it.

The resolution states that “The payment of funds, financial assets” as well as “the provision of goods and services necessary” to meet “basic human needs in Afghanistan”, are “permitted” and “do not constitute a violation” of sanctions imposed on entities related to the Taliban.

Influx of refugees from neighboring countries

The adoption of this text represents a first step for the United Nations with regard to Afghanistan, led since August by the Taliban whose regime has not yet been recognized by the international community. It aims to reduce the risk of an influx of refugees fleeing poverty to countries neighboring Afghanistan and to address a need for increased assistance, as noted by the United States.

Unlike a previous version of text which provided for Exemptions to sanctions limited to case by case – rejected Monday by China -, the adopted resolution covers the provision of humanitarian aid in the broad sense. “Humanitarian aid and life-saving assistance must be able to reach the Afghan people without any hindrance,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said on Monday, saying that “conditions or restrictions created artificially were not acceptable ”.

A measure valid for one year

For In an attempt to ensure that aid will go to the Afghans and that the Taliban will not benefit from it, the resolution calls for a review of the basic humanitarian aid exemption after twelve months. China said on Wednesday that it did not consider, despite this mention, the authorization to expire in a year. During the negotiations, France and India insisted that the duration of the resolution be only six months, but without succeeding in making Washington bend, according to diplomats.

“If there is evidence that the exemption is being abused or that money is reaching people sanctioned, it is possible to go back ”, assures a diplomat on condition of anonymity. The resolution “strongly encourages providers” of humanitarian aid to “minimize any direct or indirect benefit” to persons or entities subject to international sanctions. In Afghanistan, aid workers may be called upon to conduct financial transactions with ministries headed by sanctioned individuals and the resolution allows them not to find themselves in a position of sanctions violation.

“Save the Afghan people”

This text also includes a check on the destination of humanitarian aid in two months following their distribution, as well as a UN report on the operation of the assistance every six months. For UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, “the need for liquidity” in Afghanistan has become “urgent”. It is “not only save the Afghan people but also allow humanitarian organizations to act, ”he recently argued.

After the Taliban returned to power, the United States froze almost $ 9.5 billion from the Afghan Central Bank and the World Bank also suspended aid to Kabul. On Wednesday, Russia demanded in this regard “a thaw of assets and financial resources” blocked in the West. On 10 December, the World Bank announced the payment before the end of December of humanitarian aid of 280 millions of dollars to Unicef ​​and the World Food Program, destined for Afghanistan, these UN agencies being responsible for distributing these funds.