The EU will deliver aid worth €140 million eto Afghanistan, especially for women and girls, after confirming they would benefit from the assistance.

The country's Taliban rulers have imposed harsh restrictions on women since their return to power in 2021 - effectively squeezing them out of public life.

The European Union decided to freeze the funds in December 2022 following a Taliban order to national and international groups to stop their women employees from working.

But after six months of monitoring the situation, the European Commission said it decided to release the money after confirming aid is reaching Afghan girls and women.

The EU funds will go through United Nations agencies, the World Bank and international non-governmental organisations on the ground, the commission said in a statement.

The bloc agreed in February that aid must continue only in sectors and areas where women can work on its delivery or benefit from the assistance.

The UN mission to Afghanistan said in July that 24.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The EU hopes the funds will help meet some of their basic needs including access to safe drinking water and assist Afghans who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries to return to their country.

The €140 million is part of the EU's €1 billion support package announced in August 2021, of which €980 million has been mobilised.

The UN has previously reported that the Taliban authorities have been working on guidelines for NGOs since announcing the ban.

Some aid groups have since resumed work in provinces where they have been able to negotiate interim agreements with local Taliban officials that allow women staff to continue working, particularly in the health sector.

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