The World Bank has suspended financial aid to Afghanistan and stated it is deeply concerned about the situation in the country, especially women’s rights since the Taliban took over. Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted a World Bank official saying, “We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan, and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation. We are deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women.”
World Bank ‘deeply concerned,’ pauses aid to Afghanistan: AFP news agency quoting an official— ANI (@ANI) August 24, 2021
The World Bank did not release the statement earlier as its personnel were in the country. The evacuation process was completed on Friday, which was then followed by the process of suspending the aid. The spokesperson added the World Bank would continue to consult with the development partners and international community. He said, “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 International Monetary Fund (IMF) also announced the suspension of its operations with Afghanistan, including the existing loan program worth $370 million. It also suspended the funds under Special Drawing Rights (SDR) worth $340 million that Kabul was supposed to receive on Monday.
Reportedly, the US has decided to stick to its plan to withdraw the forces completely by the previously announced deadline that is August 31. Last week, the US government had announced that the Taliban would not have access to the gold and cash reserves that are mostly held overseas.
There are over two dozen development projects underway in Afghanistan under the World Bank. According to reports, the lender has provided over $5.2 billion for development projects, mostly in grants since 2002.
Taliban takeover in Afghanistan
Amidst the ongoing withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban swiftly took over power by taking control of the majority of the large cities in the country. It resulted in people trying to flee the country, including women who feared a return of 1990s-type Taliban rule where they had to stay at home, entertainment was banned, and public executions as punishments were common.
Since the Taliban took over, though they promised to grant some rights to women under strict Sharia law. Women have been told to wear a burqa. Female employees were told to leave business premises, including radio stations. A woman was killed for not wearing a burqa, while another was reportedly killed as she did not cook well. Reports also suggested that the Taliban has been conducting door-to-door search operations hunting girls and women between the age of 12 to 45 to use them as sex slaves.