US outruns regional states in race for Kabul

In a hugely consequential advisory, the US Treasury Department quietly signaled on Wednesday (February 2) that it was “tweaking” sanctions against Afghanistan’s Haqqani Network. International banks can now transfer money to the Taliban, including its affiliated Haqqani Network, without fear of breaching sanctions. 

Washington simply issued clarifications dilating on the relaxation of sanctions announced in September and December for humanitarian work in Afghanistan. The banks can now process transactions related to humanitarian operations “including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan depository institutions.” (Emphasis mine.)

Significantly, the Treasury Department specifically mentioned that the relaxed regime will include the Haqqani Network as well. This means that US sanctions will no longer come in the way of foreign agencies signing agreements to provide aid, general aid coordination, including import administration, and sharing of office space with the Taliban or Haqqani Network.

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