The Biden administration has just handed the Taliban terrorists now running Afghanistan an end-of-year gift. Lots and lots of money will be coming their way.
President Biden’s Treasury Department said on December 22nd that it was issuing new “general licenses” allowing financial transactions by the U.S. government, international entities, and non-governmental organizations involving the Taliban and members of the terrorist Haqqani network, subject to certain conditions. The money can only be used for such permitted purposes as humanitarian aid, civil society development, and environmental and natural resource protection projects.
Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman during the Trump administration, tweeted that the licenses legitimize “brutal organizations like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. These licenses will effectively end their isolation.”
Ortagus also noted that “much of the aid going to Afghanistan…will end up straight back into the pockets of the Taliban and other terrorists and warlords, just as so much has for decades.”
“Where is the plan to prevent this?” Ortagus asked rhetorically. There is evidently no plan.
The Biden administration also pushed forward a United Nations Security Council resolution making a “humanitarian” exception to the sanctions imposed on the Taliban. The resolution states that “payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources, and the provision of goods and services necessary to ensure the timely delivery of such assistance or to support such activities are permitted.”
After the U.S.-sponsored UN Security Council resolution passed unanimously on December 22nd, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis expressed his delight. But this outcome was only possible after the U.S. agreed to a major concession in order to avoid a threatened veto by China and Russia. Language was removed from an earlier draft of the resolution that would have required the authorization of exemptions to sanctions for development assistance only on a case-by-case basis.
Giving in to the demands from China and Russia means that the Taliban terrorists will be granted a blanket exemption to sanctions as long as a noble-sounding label such as “humanitarian” is used as a justification.
“This carveout covers urgently needed humanitarian assistance and other activities,” DeLaurentis said, “that support basic human needs in Afghanistan, such as those that primarily benefit poor or at-risk populations or otherwise relieve human suffering, including activities related to shelter and settlement assistance, food security, education, livelihoods support, energy, water, sanitation, health including COVID-19-related assistance, nutrition, and hygiene, among others.”
In other words, the Biden administration is not just talking about allowing food aid into Afghanistan to prevent mass starvation. It also wants to fund a whole bunch of non-food related activities that the Taliban, as the governing clique in charge of the country, control. The Taliban also happen to control Afghanistan’s central bank, through which a substantial portion of funds meant to help destitute Afghans must pass. Expect at least some of that money to be diverted to paying for the Taliban’s military and security police activities, as well as lining their own pockets.
There is no verifiable mechanism to ensure that the thoroughly untrustworthy Taliban will play by the rules set by the Biden administration and the UN. These terrorists are summarily executing their adversaries. They are still oppressing women and girls, but are likely to receive money for funding education denied to women and girls.
The UN Secretariat will only be reporting at six month intervals on how its richly funded assistance programs are operating. They have no plan in place on how to monitor what is actually happening on the ground. The Security Council itself will not even review the exemption for a year.
The UN will also be relying primarily on the government in charge in Afghanistan for the security of its aid workers – i.e., the Taliban terrorists. “On questions of security here, again, in Afghanistan, as everywhere else, host States have the primary responsibility to provide for the safety and security,” the UN Secretary General’s Deputy Spokesperson told reporters on December 22nd. “Since the second half of August 2021, the United Nations in Afghanistan has requested various security assurances and assistance from the de facto authorities.”
That is like putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house.
This past November, for example, Taliban thugs stole food from United Nations aid workers, which was intended for starving Afghans. The Daily Mail reported that “Taliban militants pulled guns on United Nations aid workers and took off with 3.7 tonnes of Australian flour meant to be delivered to some of Afghanistan’s poorest families as the war-torn country faces a catastrophic famine. The Australian Government donated the vital baking staple through the World Food Program as part of a $100 million handout which also includes other UN agencies.”
These vital food supplies eventually reached the intended beneficiaries after much discussion and negotiation, but the brazen violence that the Taliban terrorists displayed on this occasion is virtually certain to be repeated.
As far as it is known, not a single concession was required from the Taliban in return for the exemption they received from sanctions that had been imposed on them.
If aid workers can somehow safely deliver food and other basic necessities directly to the suffering Afghans in need, they are to be applauded. But neither the Biden administration nor the United Nations have any idea of how that can be accomplished in a country that is now a sanctuary for Islamist terrorists who have not changed their brutal ways.