U.S. moves to allow more aid to Afghanistan

With millions in Afghanistan facing the risk of famine, U.S. President Joe Biden has taken steps to let more aid into the country.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced it was issuing three new licenses allowing certain officials and NGOs to bypass sanctions and work with Taliban leaders.

Earlier in the week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged a growing crisis in the country.

We're very conscious of the fact that there is an incredibly difficult humanitarian situation right now, one that could get worse as winter sets in. And so that's an area of intense focus for us working closely with allies and partners."

The news comes a day after the UN unveiled a plan of its own earmarking $6 million to be used for security purposes.

The money would go to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry - which is run by the Taliban - paying the personnel who guard UN facilities.

But it is still unclear whether this plan will get the green light.

The Treasury Department has been tight-lipped on whether the new exemptions apply.

Wednesday's announcement sparked a response from Republicans.

Representative Michael McCaul said that exemptions "could result in using American taxpayer funds to reward, legitimize and enable the same Taliban that took power by force."

Today, nearly 23 million people in Afghanistan - that's more than half the population - face extreme hunger, according to the UN.

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