WASHINGTON — Amid Afghanistan’s growing humanitarian crisis, lawmakers are brainstorming ways to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the Afghan people, while not empowering the Taliban.

“The worst case scenario of all would be if humanitarian aid were diverted from legitimate recipients towards the Taliban and its partners in terror,” said ranking member Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Near East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, met Wednesday afternoon to discuss potential U.S. response to Afghanistan’s dire situation — around 23 million people (about half of Afghanistan’s population) don’t have enough to eat this winter, and by the summer, 97% of Afghans will be below the poverty live, living on less than $2 a day.

This humanitarian crisis could kill more Afghans than the past 20 years of war,” said Chairman Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Murphy added, “living in Afghanistan today is a nightmare.” 

But humanitarian crisis experts say that easing U.S. economic sanctions, as well as releasing private assets can help. The U.S. has frozen billions of dollars, some of which belong to the Afghan people, according to experts. In some cases, the funding belongs to individual Afghans. 

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