Mercy Corps issued the below statement in response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s issuance of a general license for Afghanistan allowing humanitarians to reach more than 18 million people in need.
Dina Esposito, Vice President of Technical Leadership, Policy and Advocacy says:
“The general licenses issued today through the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are vitally important to the resumption of lifesaving activities by humanitarian organizations operating in Afghanistan, where 18.4 million people are in dire need. The general licenses give humanitarian aid organizations like ours the necessary assurances that humanitarian activities can be carried out without running afoul of U.S. sanctions laws. We applaud the Treasury Department’s decision to issue these licenses and to cover all humanitarian organizations, including local Afghan organizations, at a time when so many Afghans are in desperate need of support.
“Faced with a drought that is affecting a third of the country, many Afghans have taken on crushing levels of debt and have no remaining resources to provide for their families. More than half of all children under the age of five will face acute malnutrition this year. According to the UN, conflict has already forced more than 570,000 people to flee their homes so far this year, and it estimates that an additional 250,000 people will be displaced by the end of December. A disproportionate number of those displaced are women and children. Humanitarian support is needed now more than ever as winter approaches.
“The U.S. government’s commitment of $64 million in additional humanitarian assistance at the United Nations High-Level Ministerial Meeting last week is a step in the right direction, but given the scale of humanitarian need in Afghanistan, that initial pledge must be followed up with more support. We urge Congress to now pass the supplemental funding package the Biden Administration has proposed, including $2.1 billion for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the resettlement of Afghan evacuees in the United States as well as to respond to growing humanitarian needs inside Afghanistan and in the region.”