UN Security Council clears the path for desperately needed aid to reach Afghans

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday clearing the way for aid to reach Afghans in desperate need of basic assistance while preventing funds from falling into the hands of the Taliban, a move hailed as a “milestone” decision that will save lives by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. 

Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the United States’ resolution 2615 (2021) as proof of how seriously Member States take the country’s desperate levels of need and suffering. 

The Council carved out an exemption for humanitarian assistance and other actions that serve basic human necessities from sanctions imposed under Resolutions 2255 (2015) and 1988 (2011), which targeted persons and entities linked to the Taliban as a risk to peace, stability, and security. 

The processing and payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources, and the provision of products and services required to enable the timely delivery of aid are all covered by key sections. 

The Council urged providers to make “reasonable efforts” to limit the accrual of any benefits to businesses or people on the sanctions list created by Resolution 1988(2011), whether through direct provision or diversion. 

It also demanded that the Emergency Relief Coordinator brief its members every six months and agreed to examine the resolution’s implementation in a year. 

Following the country’s takeover by the Taliban, who are considered de-facto authorities, in August and the subsequent freezing by Western countries of billions of dollars used by the previous government to ensure the provision of basic services, the adoption comes after months of discussions in the Council and the broader international community about how to avoid economic collapse in Afghanistan. 

In 2022, humanitarian operations in Afghanistan are expected to be the largest in the world, with a population of 22 million people. 

More than 160 national and international organizations are assisting with crucial food and health needs, as well as education, water and sanitation, and agricultural help. The effectiveness of life-saving UN aid is dependent on de facto authorities’ participation and the flexibility of the funds available. 

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