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Western Union Restarts Money Transfers To Afghanistan After 2-Week Hiatus

Western Union Co will once again offer its money-transfer services to Afghanistan, according to a Reuters report on Thursday (Sept. 2) that cited a senior executive saying the move is consistent with U.S. policy to permit humanitarian activity following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Both Western Union and fellow money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc ceased operations in Afghanistan two weeks ago when the country was overtaken by the Islamist militia. With the Taliban now seizing control, banks across Afghanistan have reopened.

That, plus the U.S. push for humanitarian assistance to Afghan people, led Western Union to reopen its operation in that country, Jean Claude Farah, Western Union’s president in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the news outlet.

“Much of our business involving Afghanistan is low-value family and support remittances that support basic needs of the people there, so that’s the grounding that we have and why we want to reopen our business,” Farah said in the Reuters report.

“We’ve engaged with the U.S. government, which has conveyed that allowing humanitarian activities, including remittances, to continue are consistent with U.S. policy,” he said.

Related: Western Union CFO On Thinking Outside The Box To Digitize The Enterprise

Digitization will continue to be a key focus for Western Union as it progresses along its growth trajectory, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Raj Agrawal told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster earlier this year.

Western Union got rid of paper in its back office before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The coronavirus outbreak intensified the need to connect with customers via digital channels and offer more valuable electronic products and services, but Agrawal told Webster that Western Union already established digitization as a priority and a key component of its customer relationship strategy.

Also read: Western Union Debuts Money Transfers Through UnionBank App In Philippines

Last month, Western Union and financial services provider PERA HUB integrated Western Union’s digital money transfer tools into the UnionBank platform, allowing Filipino customers to send international or domestic Western Union money transfers into their UnionBank accounts by entering unique transaction details into the UnionBank app, which is available for iOS and Android.

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