Menu Home

OFAC issues Afghanistan-related counter-terrorism General Licenses – and just the FAQs, ma’am

As we all kind of expected, the U.S. is keeping sanctions on the Taliban, but taking action to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through General Licenses for the Counter Terrorism program.

We’ve got two – General License 14:

GENERAL LICENSE NO. 14

Authorizing Humanitarian Activities in Afghanistan

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this general license, all transactions involving the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan by the following entities and their employees, grantees, contractors, or other persons acting on their behalf are authorized:

(1) The United States Government;

(2) Nongovernmental organizations;

(3) The United Nations, including its Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as its Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations;

(4) The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA);

(5) The African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), including any fund entity administered or established by any of the foregoing;

(6) The International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and

(7) The Islamic Development Bank.

and General License 15:

GENERAL LICENSE NO. 15

Transactions Related to the Exportation or Reexportation of Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, Medical Devices, Replacement Parts and Components, or Software Updates in Afghanistan

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this general license, all transactions involving the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan, or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Afghanistan, are authorized.

(b) Covered items. For the purposes of this general license, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices are defined as follows:

(1) Agricultural commodities. For the purposes of this general license, agricultural commodities are:

(i) Products that fall within the term “agricultural commodity” as defined in section 102 of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 5602); and

(ii) That are intended for ultimate use in Afghanistan as:

(A) Food for humans (including raw, processed, and packaged foods; live animals; vitamins and minerals; food additives or supplements; and bottled drinking water) or animals (including animal feeds);

(B) Seeds for food crops;

(C) Fertilizers or organic fertilizers; or

(D) Reproductive materials (such as live animals, fertilized eggs, embryos, and semen) for the production of food animals.

(2) Medicine. For the purposes of this general license, medicine is an item that falls within the definition of the term “drug” in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321).

(3) Medical devices. For the purposes of this general license, a medical device is an item that falls within the definition of “device” in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321).

I’ve left out the list of what is not authorized because, if you care about the G.L., you’ll read the whole thing, yes?

And there are 4 new Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs):

928. Do U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network prohibit the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan?  Answer

No.  The Taliban are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License No. 14 (GL 14) to facilitate the continuation of humanitarian assistance to, and other activities that support basic human needs in, Afghanistan by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and certain international organizations (IOs).  GL 14 authorizes the United States Government, NGOs, certain IOs, and their employees, grantees, contractors, or other persons acting on their behalf to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and that would otherwise be prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to certain conditions.  

GL 14 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized humanitarian assistance to or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.  However, GL 14 does not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GL 14 does not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services.  For purposes of clarity, transfers of funds to or from Afghanistan that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GL 14, including clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan, are authorized under GL 14.  

Persons authorized under GL 14 include the following entities and their employees, grantees, contractors, or other persons acting on their behalf:  (1) the United States Government; (2) NGOs; (3) the United Nations, including its Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as its specialized Agencies and Related Organizations, which includes the World Bank; (4) the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); (5) the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), including any fund entity administered or established by any of the foregoing; (6) the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and (7) the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB).

For an organizational chart of the United Nations, which lists the Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as the Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations covered by GL 14, please see the following page on the United Nations website:  https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/un_system_chart.pdf. 

For activity outside the scope of GL 14, OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to authorize certain transactions involving U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system that may otherwise be prohibited by OFAC sanctions, provided those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States.

If individuals, NGOs, IOs, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they may contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

929. For the purposes of General License (GL) 14, what is “humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan” or “other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan”?Answer

For the purposes of GL 14, humanitarian assistance includes the provision of relief services related to natural and man-made disasters, the provision of healthcare and health-related services, protection and assistance for vulnerable or displaced populations (including women, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, survivors of violence, those incarcerated or detained, and the drug dependent), operation of orphanages, the distribution of articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Afghanistan, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  Other activities that support basic human needs include activities to support non-commercial development projects in Afghanistan that primarily benefit poor or at-risk populations or otherwise relieve human suffering, including activities related to shelter and settlement assistance, food security, livelihoods support, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, and COVID-19-related assistance, among others, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  However, in all cases, authorized humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan must not entail financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, and import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services described in GL 14 and FAQ 928.

If individuals, NGOs, IOs, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

930. Do U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network prohibit the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan? Answer

No.  The Taliban are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License No. 15 (GL 15) under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and E.O. 13224, as amended.  GL 15 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts, and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan, as those terms are defined in GL 15, as well as to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Afghanistan, and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, subject to certain conditions.  

GL 15 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized export or reexports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan.  However, GL 15 does not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GL 15 does not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services.  For purposes of clarity, transfers of funds to or from Afghanistan that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GL 15, including clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan, are authorized under GL 15. 

Where not covered by GL 15, OFAC may also issue specific licenses to authorize certain transactions involving U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system that may otherwise be prohibited by OFAC sanctions, provided those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States.

If individuals, entities, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

931. Do non-U.S. persons risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for engaging in transactions that U.S. persons would be authorized to engage in under General Licenses (GLs) 14 or 15?Answer

No.  Non-U.S. persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GLs 14 or 15 without exposure to sanctions under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. 

For example, activity that would be authorized by GLs 14 or 15 if engaged in by a U.S. person would not be considered “significant” for the purposes of a secondary sanctions determination under E.O. 13224, as amended.  Accordingly, foreign financial institutions do not risk exposure to correspondent and payable-through account sanctions under E.O. 13224, as amended, if they knowingly conduct or facilitate a transaction on behalf of persons blocked under E.O. 13224, as amended, that would be authorized under GLs 14 or 15 if engaged in by a U.S. person. 

If individuals, entities, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

And Treasury issued a press release:

PRESS RELEASES

Treasury Issues General Licenses and Guidance to Facilitate Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan

September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses (GLs) to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.  This action continues the U.S. government’s longstanding practice of authorizing the provision of humanitarian goods and services to areas affected by U.S. sanctions.  Treasury remains committed to ensuring that U.S. sanctions do not limit the ability of civilians located in Afghanistan to receive humanitarian support from the United States government and international community, while denying assets to the Taliban and other sanctioned entities and individuals.

“Treasury is committed to facilitating the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support their basic human needs.  Treasury will continue to work with financial institutions, international organizations, and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community to ease the flow of critical resources, like agricultural goods, medicine, and other essential supplies, to people in need, while upholding and enforcing our sanctions against the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other sanctioned entities,” said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki.

As part of this commitment, OFAC issued GL 14, which authorizes the U.S. government, NGOs, and certain international organizations and entities, as well as those acting on their behalf, to engage in the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.  OFAC also issued GL 15, which authorizes certain transactions related to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices (as well as replacement parts, components, and software updates for medical devices).  For more information, please see GLs 14 and 15.

Concurrent with this action, OFAC issued four Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  These FAQs provide additional clarity on the scope of GLs 14 and 15 and provide guidance for non-U.S. persons, including NGOs and foreign financial institutions, engaging in or facilitating transactions for activities authorized for U.S. persons under the GLs.  For more information, please see FAQs 928929930, and 931.

For transactions not otherwise authorized or exempt, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian assistance. For more information regarding the scope of any sanctions program’s requirements or the applicability or scope of any humanitarian-related authorizations, please contact OFAC’s Sanction Compliance and Evaluation Division at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490, or by email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Counter Terrorism General Licenses: 14, 15

New FAQs: 928, 929, 930, 931

Treasury Press Release

Categories: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Humanitarian Aid Licenses OFAC Updates Taliban Terrorism

eric9to5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: