INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT charity Christian Aid has called on the UK Government to issue guidance for UK agencies and banks “without delay” to ensure aid flows into Afghanistan, following a vote of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to revise the sanctions regime to allow humanitarian aid into Afghanistan.

The intervention comes after new polling by Savanta, commissioned by Christian Aid, revealed that over half, (53 per cent) of voters believe that the UK Government has an obligation to enable aid to get into Afghanistan for humanitarian work.

The vote on UN Security Council Resolution 1988, to introduce a humanitarian exception to sanctions on the Taliban, means that humanitarian agencies and financial institutions which support them can now move humanitarian funding to Afghanistan via the banking system, without fear of prosecution. The vote took place on 22 December 2021.

The decision follows intense lobbying. Just last month, a coalition of 17 international aid organisations urged world leaders to “identify safe, efficient payment channels” so that funding can be quickly accessed to sustain humanitarian operations.

Fionna Smyth, Head of Global Advocacy and Policy at Christian Aid, said: “Afghanistan is in crisis with millions on the verge of starvation. Reports that families are so desperate they have been forced to marry off daughters to provide food for their children are heartbreaking.

“It is therefore welcome news that the UN Security Council has listened to appeals from Christian Aid and others to revise the sanctions regime to allow humanitarian aid into Afghanistan. A light of hope has now been lit.

“To tackle the hunger crisis and get aid to those in need, the UK Government must now issue clear guidance for UK aid agencies and banks without delay. We have a moral duty to ensure humanitarian operations are supporting the most vulnerable before it is too late.”

* Source: Christian Aid