“Today’s Executive Order reflects an important recognition of the dire situation facing Afghanistan and its people, and the responsibilities and interests of the United States in preventing further collapse of economy and society. The Executive Order underscores the importance of economic activity to the alleviation of humanitarian need.  We have argued that the priorities are to get salaries paid to public servants, capitalize the banking system, clarify the limits of sanctions and support economic institutions including the central bank.  Today’s announcement needs to be followed up by urgent action, including the release of privately-owned Afghan assets and much faster disbursement of World Bank funds marked for Afghanistan.  The IRC now has nearly 3000 staff members working across Afghanistan, and they report rising levels of desperation as well as malnutrition, poverty and family violence.  It is vital that the announcement today is matched by action from Europe, the Gulf and neighbors of Afghanistan to arrest the decline that has been so evident in recent months.”