World Bank Pauses Disbursements to Afghanistan After Takeover
The World Bank has paused disbursements to its projects in Afghanistan, citing concern about the Taliban government’s impact on development prospects, particularly for women.
“We are closely monitoring and assessing the situation in line with our internal policies and procedures,” a spokesperson for the Washington-based lender said in an email on Tuesday. “As we do so, 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 World Bank has committed more than $5.3 billion to development projects in the nation since April 2002. As of February, it had 12 active projects belonging solely to the International Development Association for the globe’s poorest nations, with $940 million in commitments.
The bank had another 15 projects jointly with the donor-funded Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund that the bank administers, with nearly $1.2 billion in IDA funds committed. The fund has raised almost $12.9 billion from 34 donors, making it the largest contributor to Afghanistan’s budget, the World Bank said in April.
The World Bank told staff in an internal memo on Friday that its Kabul-based staff and their immediate families had been safely relocated to Islamabad, Pakistan.
The lender’s pause on disbursements is the latest setback for a new regime in Afghanistan that’s starved for cash after the U.S. froze access to more than $9 billion in assets. The International Monetary Fund said last week that the new government is cut off from using fund reserve assets days before the nation was set to receive almost $500 million allocated to other countries on Monday.
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