Home Latest News Taliban Seek Release of Afghan Funds Frozen by the U.S.

Taliban Seek Release of Afghan Funds Frozen by the U.S.

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Afghanistan acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi

In open letter to U.S. Congress, acting foreign minister warns of humanitarian crises if Washington does not grant Kabul access to central bank assets

The Taliban on Wednesday urged the U.S. Congress to release Afghan assets that have been frozen since they took over Kabul in August, warning that an economic crisis in Afghanistan may provoke trouble abroad.

Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, in an open letter, said the biggest challenge to Afghanistan was financial insecurity, adding that “the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government.” Washington, in August, seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets of the Afghan central bank. The country’s economy, long dependent on foreign aid, has since effectively collapsed with reports of rampant inflation and government employees left unpaid for months.

“I present to you our compliments and would like to share a few thoughts on our bilateral relations,” Muttaqi wrote in his letter, recalling that 2021 had marked the centenary of Washington recognizing Afghanistan´s sovereignty. “Akin to other world countries, our bilateral relations have also experienced ups and downs,” he said, skimming over the two decades that the Taliban had been in a state of war with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“The Doha agreement envisioned positive relations between both countries in the future,” he wrote. “We believe that full implementation of the Doha agreement and commitment to it can open a new chapter of positive relations between both governments and people which is in the interest of both countries,” he added.

Claiming that the Taliban had entered Kabul “at the request of the people especially residents of Kabul,” the acting foreign minister said “as a sovereign and responsible government,” the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was “interested in establishing positive relations with all world governments”, including the U.S.

Claiming that Afghanistan was experiencing a “united, responsible and non-corrupt” government for the first time in over 40 years, he said that the interim government was taking “practical steps” to achieve good governance, security and transparency. “No threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation,” he said.

“Afghanistan now has everything available for growth and development, and the United States of America can also invest in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan,” read the letter. America’s seizing of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, it said, goes against the Doha agreement. “Despite the fact that following the signing of the Doha agreement in February 2020 we no longer find ourselves in direct conflict with one another nor are we a military opposition, what logic could possibly exist behind the freezing of our assets?” asked Muttaqi.

He said that the Taliban regime was “concerned” that if the current situation continues, it could become a cause for mass migration that would “create further humanitarian and economic issues for the world.”

Citing the U.N., Muttaqi said that if the prevailing conditions continued, “the Afghans will face a dire situation this winter.” Describing the frozen assets as a “pure humanitarian issue,” he claimed it damaged the “prestige” of the people and government of the U.S. for them not to release the funds. “The suffering of a child from malnutrition, the death of a mother from lack of health services, the deprivation of a common Afghan from food, shelter, medicine and other primary needs has no political or logical justification,” he wrote.

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