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IMF warns of 'looming humanitarian crisis' in Afghanistan

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A member of Taliban security forces stands guard among crowds of people walking past in a street in Kabul, Afghanistan September 4, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it was deeply concerned with the economic situation facing Afghanistan and warned of a looming humanitarian crisis facing the country after last month's takeover by Islamist Taliban insurgents.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the global lender's engagement with Afghanistan remains suspended, which means IMF funding is on hold.

He said the immediate focus should be on helping the Afghan people by allowing the flow of remittances and small-scale transfers, and providing aid to countries hosting Afghan refugees.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

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