US, Taliban meet to discuss release of Afghan funds
Washington, Jul 28 (EFE).- A United States delegation met representatives of the Taliban to discuss the release of $3.5 billion in Afghan funds kept in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the US Department of State announced Thursday.
The US delegation led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson met senior Taliban representatives and technocratic professionals in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Wednesday, the state department said in a statement.
During the meeting, the US “expressed the need to address the urgent humanitarian situation in Afghanistan,” according to the statement.
“The two sides discussed ongoing efforts to enable the $3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people,” it added.
Before the Taliban seized power in 2021, the Afghan central bank had deposited some $9 billion abroad.
Out of this, $7 billion are in the US and the rest are in other countries, such as Switzerland, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the United Nations, Afghanistan is facing a vast humanitarian disaster, largely due to the blockade of funds and foreign aid decreed in response to the Taliban’s seizure of power, which are subject to international sanctions.
On Thursday, the US Department of State formally launched a mechanism to put Afghan civil society members in contact with US government officials and promote the defense of human rights in Afghanistan.
The US-Afghan Consultative Mechanism (USACM) includes “diverse representatives from various Afghan women’s coalitions as well as civil society leaders, journalists, academics, legal experts, and religious actors and scholars from inside and outside Afghanistan,” the US Department of State said in a separate statement.
It will “facilitate regular engagement with the US government on relevant issues, ranging from women and civil society’s participation in political processes to human rights documentation and accountability,” the department added. EFE