International aid organizations are warning of an “impending humanitarian crisis” in Afghanistan as the US is withholding billions in Afghan funds from the new Taliban-led government.
The international medical charity Doctors Without Borders has said Afghanistan’s healthcare system is facing a “potential collapse.” The UN is warning that basic services in the country are collapsing and is appealing to donors for more aid funding.
“Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out,” said Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “We urge international donors to support this appeal fast and generously.”
Afghanistan’s central bank has about $10 billion in reserves that are mostly held in offshore accounts. About $7 billion is held by the US Federal Reserve, which the Biden administration has seized since the Taliban take over. The US has the power to deny Afghanistan’s access to the other offshore accounts with the threat of sanctions. The US has also successfully pressured the International Monetary Fund to cut off Afghanistan’s access to IMF funds.
The Biden administration is using its power over the global financial system as leverage over the Taliban. But as the aid groups are warning, the country faces a humanitarian crisis, and denying the government those desperately-needed funds will do little but hurt the civilian population.