Taliban accuse US of misappropriating Afghan assets
The headquarters of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. Washington refuses to release billions of dollars frozen since the Taliban took power.
The Taliban on Thursday accused the United States of improperly appropriating Afghan assets and demanded that they be returned “unconditionally”, the day after Washington refused to release billions of dollars frozen since they took power.
The United States has appropriated the assets of the Afghan people, Afghan government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP on Thursday.
The United States United are not the owners of these funds, he insisted, asking that they be released unconditionally.
Washington announced on Wednesday the creation of a fund in Switzerland to manage half of the Afghan assets, or 3.5 billion dollars, frozen when the Taliban came to power in August 2021. This fund will be responsible for core central bank functions, such as paying Afghanistan's international arrears and electricity imports.
In a letter to the Central Bank of Afghanistan, US Assistant Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo regretted that the Afghan institution had not demonstrated its independence from the Taliban and that she did not respect her commitment to fund the fight against terrorism, made before they came to power. He also lamented that she did not appoint a reliable outside observer.
“He doesn' There is currently no institution in Afghanistan capable of guaranteeing that these funds will only be used for the benefit of the Afghan people, not even the DAB, the Central Bank.
— Wally Adeyemo Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury
The Central Bank of Afghanistan also criticized Washington's move, saying it ran counter to goals for which assets had been accumulated for decades, such as stabilizing the money market and facilitation of trade.
It is unacceptable for the DAB to earmark, use and transfer reserves for any other purpose, the Central Bank asserted.
When US forces left in August 2021, after 20 years of military intervention in Afghanistan, Washington froze $7 billion in reserves.
In February, the US President Joe Biden had wanted half of the 7 billion to be reserved for the compensation of the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, at the origin of the American invasion in Afghanistan and the overthrow of the first Taliban regime.
This decision outraged the Taliban, who had, however, begun discussions with the United States to find a solution.
The asset freeze has deepened Afghanistan's economic crisis, where more than half of its 38 million people face hunger.
Thursday evening, the Afghan Foreign Ministry warned against the use of reserves for purposes other than economic stability.
The x27;Islamic Emirate will be compelled to impose fines and prohibit the activities of all individuals, institutions and companies that facilitate this illegal business and seek to divert central bank reserves for humanitarian and other purposes , he said.
The DAB also criticized the plan to transfer its reserves to Switzerland.
She said that it would be unacceptable for the institution to use them for anything other than legitimate economic activity, such as stabilizing the money market and facilitating trade .