Conflicts & War

Taliban say US ‘stealing’ Afghan money by withholding part of frozen assets

Kabul, Feb 12 (EFE).- The Taliban on Saturday lashed out against the United States’ decision to distribute half of the frozen Afghan funds worth $7 billion to victims of the 9/11 attacks, calling it “stealing,” even as Washington agreed to transfer the rest of the assets to Kabul as humanitarian aid.

“Stealing and seizing Afghan money by the United States shows the lowest level of humanity and moral decline of the nation,” tweeted Naeem Wardak, the spokesperson of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.

On Friday US President Joe Biden had signed an executive order assigning half of the assets – $3.5 billion – to victims of the 2001 terror attacks and the other half to the Afghan people, who are going through a serious humanitarian crisis.

The funds had been deposited in the New York-based US Federal Reserve and other American financial institutions before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

Ebadullah Nasiri, a professor of economics at Afghanistan’s Nangarhar University, told EFE that Washington’s decision violated international norms and could speed up the collapse of the Asian country’s banking and financial systems.

“Firstly, the decision of giving half of the Afghan money to victims of 9/11 attacks is against all humanitarian rules, and the mechanism to release the remaining amount for humanitarian aid will quicken the collapse of economy and financial and banking systems,” he warned.

Afghan businessman Shahabuldin Mohamad Nadir also expressed his concerns.

“The frozen property was an asset of the central bank for backing up of Afghan currency and banking system, but this decision will negatively affect the system” he said.

Nonprofit Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the US decision “would create a problematic precedent for commandeering sovereign wealth and do little to address underlying factors driving Afghanistan’s massive humanitarian crisis.”

Before the Taliban came to power, Afghanistan’s central bank had deposited $9 billion overseas.

Out of these funds, $7 billion are in the US, while the rest is distributed in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

The United Nations has warned that Afghanistan is facing a massive humanitarian disaster, partly triggered by the freezing of funds and humanitarian aid drying up after power was seized by the Taliban, who face multiple international sanctions. EFE


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