AFP — Western Union announced on Thursday that it would resume its money transfer service to Afghanistan, allowing vital remittances into the country as it faces economic hurdles following the Taliban’s takeover last month.
“Western Union is pleased to share that it is resuming its money transfer services into Afghanistan, starting September 2, so that our customers can once again send money and support their loved ones at this time,” a spokesperson said.
“We understand the urgent needs of our customers and their families and are committed to supporting them,” the spokesperson said, adding that Western Union would waive transfer fees from September 3 through 17.
Remittances from Afghans living abroad are crucial for the impoverished country’s economy and amounted to almost $789 million in 2020, according to the World Bank — some four percent of the country’s estimated $19.8 billion GDP that year.
The Washington-based development bank last week announced it would suspend aid to the country, saying it was “deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women.”
The IMF announced shortly after the Taliban’s takeover that it would suspend its assistance to the country, citing uncertainty surrounding its leadership.
The Islamist militants, who have pledged a softer brand of rule than during their brutal reign of 1996-2001, are expected to soon form a new government