The World Bank announced Tuesday it is halting financial support to Afghanistan amid worries about the fate of women under Taliban rule.
The news deals another blow to an Afghan economy that relies heavily on foreign aid and is facing the specter of rising food prices.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women,” World Bank spokesperson Marcela Sanchez-Bender said in a statement to CNN Business.
The World Bank has committed more than $5.3 billion for development projects in Afghanistan, according to the organization’s website. The Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, administered by the World Bank, has raised more than $12.9 billion.
“We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation in line with our internal policies and procedures,” Sanchez-Bender said.
The World Bank said it will continue to consult with the international community and development partners.
“Together with our partners we are exploring ways we can remain engaged to preserve hard-won development gains and continue to support the people of Afghanistan,” Sanchez-Bender said.
The people of Afghanistan face the threat of inflation after the country’s currency tumbled to record lows following the fall of the US-backed government in Kabul.
In an interview with CNN, former Afghan central bank chief Ajmal Ahmady warned on Friday of “economic hardship” ahead for his country and pleaded with the international community to keep providing support.
“Humanitarian assistance not only needs to remain, but needs to increase over the next few days and months,” he said. “Let’s not wait until another crisis hits.”