US permits humanitarian help, Quad arrives at understanding on Taliban

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WASHINGTON: The US Department of the Treasury has issued licenses to facilitate humanitarian aid and financial assistance to the people of Afghanistan, while upholding sanctions on the Taliban.

“Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs,” Andrea Gacki, director of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said during a statement.

The facilities announced on Friday evening, follow an understanding among Pakistan, the US, Russia, and China to carry Taliban to the guarantees they made once they seized control of Kabul in mid-August.

“Pakistan has always believed that the Quad provides an efficient platform for sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” the country’s US Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan told Dawn in Washington.

Two of the four nations — Pakistan and China — have borders with Afghanistan while the 2 others — the US and Russia — are involved in military expeditions within the war-torn country.

The four apparently reached this understanding after consultations during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). secretary of state Shah Mehmood Qureshi represented Pakistan in these talks during his week-long stay in NY.

Russia’s secretary of state Sergey Lavrov announced this understanding among the four nations in his address to the UNGA on Friday and later reconfirmed it at a news briefing also.

But Mr. Lavarov also said that international recognition of the Taliban was “not on the table yet.”

Earlier during the session, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres alerted the international community that the Taliban’s desire for such recognition was the sole leverage that they had over Afghanistan’s new rulers.

“What’s most vital … is to make sure that the guarantees that they need to be proclaimed publicly [are]to be kept,” Mr. Lavrov said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

In Washington, the Treasury said the 2 general licenses they issued would ease crushing US sanctions on the Taliban from impacting Afghan civilians. The sanctions freeze any US assets belonging to the Taliban and bar US citizens from engaging in transactions with them, including the contribution of funds, goods, or services.

At the United Nations, Unicef’s executive Henrietta Fore warned at a Ministerial meeting that “nearly 10 million girls and boys in Afghanistan depend upon humanitarian assistance just to survive.”

She also warned that a minimum of a million children will suffer from severe malnutrition this year and will die without treatment.

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