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New counter-terror FAQs from OFAC – 7 of them!

The Newly Added FAQ page lists these in newest first order…

963. Can humanitarian organizations ship cash into Afghanistan for use in delivering humanitarian assistance? 

Yes, cash shipments to Afghanistan may be authorized under General Licenses (GL) 14GL 18, or GL 19, provided that they are ordinarily incident and necessary to effectuate the activities authorized by the GLs.  

As with all OFAC GLs, GLs 14, 18, and 19 are “self-executing,” meaning that persons who determine that such activities are ordinarily incident and necessary to their authorized activities within the scope of the GLs may proceed without further assurances from OFAC.  
 Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

962. Can banks process transactions related to activities authorized by General Licenses (GLs) 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19? 

Yes.  Transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in General Licenses (GL) 14GL 15GL 16GL 17GL 18, or GL 19, including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan depository institutions, are authorized pursuant to these GLs. 

In addition, foreign financial institutions may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19 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.
 Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

961. Can nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations (IOs) provide support to municipal water systems?

Yes.  Support to municipal water systems by NGOs for projects that directly benefit the Afghan people or otherwise relieve human suffering that would otherwise be prohibited 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, because of transactions with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network would be covered by General Licenses (GLs) 14and 19.  GL 18 authorizes all transactions and activities with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network otherwise prohibited under the GTSR or FTOSR that are for the conduct of the official business of certain IOs.  Thus, if support to municipal water systems is part of these IOs’ official business, then it would not be prohibited. 

For example, this could include providing technical support to a project related to clean drinking water or making improvements to water systems for the benefit of the Afghan people. 
 Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

960. Can nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations (IOs) make salary support or stipend payments directly to Afghan teachers and healthcare workers?

Yes.  Even to the extent doing so would involve transacting with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network, NGOs can make salary support or stipend payments directly to healthcare workers, such as doctors at public hospitals or healthcare workers at community clinics, under General License (GL) 14 and GL 19.  Similarly, even to the extent doing so would involve transacting with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network, NGOs can make such salary support or stipend payments directly to teachers, including teachers at Afghan public and private schools, under GL 19.  Under GL 18, certain IOs can provide such salary support payments directly to healthcare workers and teachers.Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

959. Is support to public hospitals in Afghanistan (e.g., health services, facilities maintenance, and health worker salaries) by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) considered ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized activities under General Licenses (GLs) 14, 15, and 19?

Yes.  Providing support to public hospitals, such as provision of health services, technical support, and institutional deliveries, as well as payments directly to healthcare workers, that would otherwise be prohibited 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, because of transactions with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network are authorized under General Licenses (GLs) 1415, and 19.Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

958. What are examples of transactions involving the Taliban or the Haqqani Network that are authorized under General Licenses (GLs) 14 and 19?

As one example, if a non-governmental organization is providing support directly to Afghan hospitals or healthcare workers but needs to sign a memorandum of understanding that involves the Taliban in order to provide such support directly to the Afghan people, this engagement would be authorized under General Licenses (GLs) 14 and 19.

Other examples of engagement with the Taliban and the Haqqani Network that are authorized under GLs 14 and 19 if they are ordinarily incident and necessary to activities authorized by these GLs include: (i) general coordination on delivery and provision of humanitarian aid or shipments; (ii) administrative issues involving importation of goods; (iii) attendance at donor coordination meetings; (iv) sharing descriptions of projects; (v) coordination with regard to travel or project locations; (vi) participation in technical working groups; and (vii) sharing of office space.

In addition, payments of taxes, fees, or import duties to, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services from, 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, are authorized under GLs 14 and 19, if ordinarily incident and necessary to activities authorized by the GLs.  
 Released on 02/02/2022Counter Terrorism Sanctions

957. Can non-U.S. companies ship food and agricultural products to Afghanistan? Can banks process these transactions?

Yes.  Both U.S. and non-U.S. companies can ship food to Afghanistan, and banks can process financial transfers and other transactions associated with food shipments to Afghanistan.

As described in FAQ 930, U.S. sanctions do not specifically prohibit the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License (GL) 15, which 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 the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest subject to certain conditions.  FAQ 931 provides further guidance that non-U.S. persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL 15.

GL 15 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized exports or reexports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving privately-owned and state-owned banks in Afghanistan.
Released on 02/02/2022

And Treasury had a call with NGOs about their work in Afghanistan:

PRESS RELEASES

READOUT: Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian Nelson’s Calls with NGOs on Additional Clarity on Operations in Afghanistan

February 2, 2022

WASHINGTON – Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson spoke with leaders of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Afghanistan today to discuss the issuance of new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) designed to provide clarity and further facilitate humanitarian aid and commercial activity in Afghanistan. He shared that the FAQs, several of which were developed in consultation with NGOs, addressed questions surrounding food and agricultural shipments, support to public hospitals, salary support for teachers and healthcare workers, support for municipal water systems, bank transactions, and cash shipments.

These additional FAQs provide clarity to help NGOs to continue to deliver important services and for financial institutions to process those transactions. While the United States is working to facilitate financial flows that benefit the Afghan people, including through guidance like the FAQs released today, Under Secretary Nelson reiterated that Afghanistan will continue to face severe economic and humanitarian challenges regardless of the amount of aid provided due to longstanding structural challenges and the Taliban’s economic mismanagement.

Under Secretary Nelson emphasized Treasury’s commitment to supporting the people of Afghanistan and seeking solutions to mitigate humanitarian challenges on the ground while preventing the flow of funds to illicit activities. Since August, Treasury has hosted several meetings with NGOs and financial institutions at all levels to solicit feedback and provide technical assistance with regard to Afghanistan.

The seven new Frequently Asked Questions:

These FAQs build on the December 2021 Fact Sheet, Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People

Links:

OFAC Notice

FAQs 957-963

Treasury Call Readout

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

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