The US Secretary of State says the United States will not lift sanctions on the Taliban. Washington is also providing assistance to ordinary Afghans amid the ongoing crisis in the country.
Anthony Blinken made the remarks at a Senate hearing Tuesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had questions with the Secretary of State about developments in Afghanistan. A day earlier, a senior US diplomat had answered questions of similar difficulty in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Blinken vows that humanitarian aid will not be cut off to Afghans in distress, and that Washington will do so with the help of UN agencies and other non-governmental organizations. The United States plans to provide $ 64 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at this stage.
On Tuesday, Blinken testified for 3.5 hours. He explained that US aid is not limited to this $ 64 million alone. Washington is allocating additional funds for the “health and nutrition needs” of Afghan minorities, women and children, as well as for girls’ return to school.
Eventually, US assistance to the Afghan people will reach $ 330 million over the entire budget year. Blinken emphasizes that this aid bypasses the Taliban and it is delivered directly to the Afghans. The United Nations is calling for $ 606 million to mobilize 11 million Afghans to provide food, health care, shelter and other vital necessities.
“It’s hard to imagine UN sanctions being lifted, travel restrictions being lifted,” said Anthony Blinken. He does not rule out the possibility of “even imposing additional sanctions” on the Taliban if their government violates counterterrorism agreements and grossly disregards human rights.