The United States has been once again urged to release Afghanistan foreign assets as the country is facing with the worst humanitarian crisis. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and the people of Afghanistan have repeatedly asked the United States to release the frozen assets of Afghanistan central bank.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov has recently made a pitch also for the immediate release of the $7 billion Afghan central bank’s asset.
“We need to have these assets returned to Afghanistan. I know that there are negotiations which are going on about those returns,” Alakbarov said.
Stressing the need for flexibility on both sides, Alakbarov explained the world body was not involved in the negotiations on the return of the funds to the war-hit country.
However, considering the current economic situation in Afghanistan and the beginning of a humanitarian disaster, providing financial and humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan is undoubtedly a vital matter.
Meanwhile, a U.S. judge on Friday recommended that victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks not be allowed to seize billions of dollars of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan said Da Afghanistan Bank was immune from jurisdiction, and that allowing the seizures would effectively acknowledge the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) as the Afghan government, something only the U.S. president can do.
Netburn’s recommendation will be reviewed by U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan, who also oversees the litigation and can decide whether to accept her recommendation.
In an executive order in February, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered half of $7 billion of Afghan central bank funds that are frozen in U.S. to be unlocked for the benefit of the Afghan people, leaving victims to pursue the remainder in court.
U.S. sanctions ban doing financial business with the IEA, but allow humanitarian support for the Afghan people.
Also, more than 70 world economists including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz in a letter have recently urged the U.S. President Joe Biden to release the frozen billions in dollars of Afghanistan assets. The letter, also addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, was signed by 71 economists and academic experts, many based in the United States as well as Germany, India and the United Kingdom.
They have urged foreign capitals needed to return the roughly $9 billion in Afghan central bank assets to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) to allow the economy to function.
It is worth mentioning that Washington also stopped flying in hard currency, effectively paralyzing Afghanistan’s banking system, and froze $7 billion in Afghan assets in the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In February, Biden ordered half the sum set aside for the benefit of the Afghan people. Other countries hold some $2 billion of Afghan reserves. Samiullah Momand