Backing is also given to UN resolution exempting most aid from threat of sanctions

The US has eased its restrictions on mainstream humanitarian aid reaching famine-stricken Afghanistan and backed a UN security council resolution exempting most aid from the threat of sanctions, the Guardian reports.

The US Treasury followed up the UN resolution by broadening the definition of permitted humanitarian assistance to include education – including salary payments to teachers – and to permit a broader use of US funds received by aid organizations working inside Afghanistan. The US has been trying to use aid as a lever to force the Taliban, who seized power in August, not to suppress women’s rights, including access to education.

But aid groups said in seeking to pressure the Taliban, the US was at risk of driving ordinary Afghans towards starvation. Aid agencies have for months complained the continued unqualified US sanctions on Taliban leaders and entities meant it was impossible to provide aid into Taliban-run Afghanistan through normal banking channels, but the US-backed UN resolution clarified that aid to relieve humanitarian needs would not need to be treated as money directed to the Taliban.

The resolution’s careful wording has been the subject of lengthy negotiations in New York, and was in part resolved by an agreement that the mechanism will be reviewed after a year, and include tight reporting requirements.

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