Afghan-Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has yet again urged the United States to immediately release Afghanistan’s central bank assets. While highlighting the humanitarian situation in the war-torn nation, Muttaqi called on the US to unfreeze over $9 billion in Afghan assets that were frozen by the Biden administration after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in mid-August. He also went on to say that the US was no longer engaged in a war with Afghanistan and that freezing the Afghan assets lacked “logical” justification.
“The assets should be freed immediately. The Americans don’t have any military front with us now. What is the reason for freezing the assets? The assets don’t belong to the Mujahideen (Islamic Emirate) but to the people of Afghanistan,” Muttaqi said according to ToloNews.
“The US froze our assets and then told us that it will provide us humanitarian aid. What does it mean?” he further questioned.
It is to mention that experts believe that the holding of Afghan assets is affecting the people of the war-ravaged country who are also struggling with severe economic challenges. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and the security situation has also worsened since the Taliban took control of the nation. The UN World Food Programme has warned that millions of Afghans will face starvation this winter unless urgent action is taken.
US says Taliban ‘misconstrued facts
Previously, Muttaqi had even sent a letter to the US Congress, urging lawmakers to free the Afghan assets citing the intense economic and humanitarian crisis. Muttaqi wrote that if the assets remain frozen, problems in the war-ravaged country will increase given that winter is fast approaching. He said that the regime is concerned that if the current situation prevails, the Talibani government and people will face problems and will become a cause for mass mitigation in the region and world which will consequently create further humanitarian and economic issues for the world.
However, in response to the letter, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, said that the Taliban regime “misconstrued” facts regarding the country’s humanitarian crisis. In a series of tweets, West emphasised that the United States has made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community would all but cease.
He said that the insurgents will have to earn legitimacy and support by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government and respect the rights of minorities, women and girls. West went on to assert that the US will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid, adding that America has already provided $474 million this year.
“Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, and the pandemic,” West said.