IMF calls for action to prevent humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Washington (AFP) –


The international community should take urgent action to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the IMF said Thursday.

With the country currently cut off from funding from the International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based crisis lender is worried about the fate of the people in Afghanistan, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

"We stand ready to work with the international community to advocate for urgent actions to stall a looming humanitarian crisis," Rice said.

Rice signaled the IMF favors "allowing the flow of remittances and small scale transfers" to Afghanistan.

But the IMF cannot resume direct engagement with Afghanistan "until there is clarity within the international community on the recognition of the government."

"We're deeply concerned with the difficult economic situation in Afghanistan and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and we've said, the immediate focus should indeed be on that humanitarian situation (and) aid to help the Afghan people."

After the civilian government in Kabul fell swiftly to the Taliban, the IMF and World Bank suspended activities in the country, which meant withholding aid as well as $340 million in new reserves issued by the IMF last month.

And with Washington blocking access to much of the $9 billion in Afghan reserves held overseas, the country is facing a cash crunch.