Following the seizure of political power in Afghanistan by the Taliban, funding for projects in the country has been frozen by the World Bank.
According to a statement published by the global agency about the halting of the funding, the agency is concerned with the manner in which the takeover of the country by the Taliban will impact “the country’s development prospects, especially for women”.
It was just days ago that payments to Afghanistan had been suspended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The assets of Afghanistan’s central bank that are held in the United States have also been frozen by the Biden administration.
More than $5.3bn for reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan has been given out by the Washington-based global financial institution since 2002.
“We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation in line with our internal policies and procedures,” a World Bank spokesperson told the media about the development.
“We will continue to consult closely with the international community and development partners. Together with our partners we are exploring ways we can remain engaged to preserve hard-won development gains and continue to support the people of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added.
The World Bank had managed to successfully evacuate from Afghanistan its Kabul-based team and their immediate families, who are now in Pakistan, the bank told its staff on Friday. Since the Taliban takeover of the country, this latest announcement of halting of funds by the World Bank is the latest blow to the new government of Afghanistan.
The resources of the IMF were prevented from being accessed by Afghanistan last week, the global lender had announced last week. The decision taken by the IMF was because of a “lack of clarity within the international community” over recognizing a government in Afghanistan, an IMF spokesperson had said last week.
From August 23, an amount of about $440m of new monetary reserves had been set to be made available to the country.
The Taliban would not be able to access any assets that Afghanistan’s central bank has in the US, the White House had said in the days after the Taliban took control of Kabul.
Da Afghanistan Bank has reserves of roughly $9bn, most of which is held in the US.
(Adapted from BBC.com)