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US keeps Afghan billions frozen due to ties to terrorism

After the al-Qaeda commander was discovered hiding in Kabul, the United States decided against delivering $3.5 billion (£2.9 billion) to the Afghan state bank.

After Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor, was killed in a US drone strike on July 31, the money, which is kept by the US “in the near term,” will no longer be accessible to Taliban leaders.

In the middle of the Afghan city, Zawahiri was standing on the balcony of his residence.

A year after the US withdrew from Kabul, allowing the Taliban to seize power, US authorities announced the funds.

Tom West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, said: “We do not have confidence that that institution [Afghanistan’s central bank] has the safeguards and monitoring in place to manage assets responsibly.

“And needless to say, the Taliban’s sheltering of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri reinforces deep concerns we have regarding diversion of funds to terrorist groups.”

The US did not see recapitalization of the Afghan central banks as a “near-term option”.

Officials from the US and Afghanistan have been negotiating over the struggling economy of the nation for months.

However, the Taliban has been unable to offer sufficient guarantees that money held in the US would not be used for terrorism.

Instead, the US wants to utilize the funds to provide relief to Afghans.

Ned Price, the US state department spokesman, said: “The idea that we have decided not to use these funds for the benefit of the Afghan people is simply wrong. It is not true.

“So, right now we’re looking at mechanisms that could be put in place to see to it that these $3.5 billion in preserved assets make their way efficiently and effectively to the people of Afghanistan in a way that doesn’t make them ripe for diversion to terrorist groups or elsewhere.”

He stated that the conversation with “Afghan technocrats” regarding the national bank would go on.

The US charged the Taliban with a “gross violation” of its promise to stop foreign terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base after al-Zawahiri was found.

The UN Security Council stated in a report earlier this year that the Taliban was giving foreign fighters “more freedom” than at any other time in recent memory.

President Joe Biden issued an order in February dividing the $7 billion in frozen Afghan assets held by the US into funds for victims of September 11 and humanitarian help.

Half of the funds allocated for relief were to be placed in a trust fund and distributed through Afghan aid organizations.

The Taliban have been holding triumph parades in Kabul for the past year since they took control of the Afghan capital.

Millions of Afghans were forced into extreme poverty and famine throughout that year, which completely destroyed the country’s economy.

The Afghan humanitarian coordinator for the UN has warned that coming winter will be “absolute tragedy” for the nation.

Ramiz Alakbarov claimed that just roughly $1.8 billion had been raised from a $4.4 billion UN appeal for humanitarian help in Afghanistan.

6.6 million people, he claimed, were just one step away from starvation.

Mr. Alakbarov claimed that while touring various hospitals, he witnessed “heartbreaking scenes” of emaciated kids who would not make it through the winter without assistance.

If support is not given, “negative coping techniques,” such as the sale of children and organs, will be evident, he claimed.

According to the UN, over 24 million Afghans require humanitarian assistance.

Since January, many people have been spending up to 90% of their income on food.

Poor leadership by the Taliban would worsen the situation, according to Erin Sikorsky, director of The Centre for Climate and Security in the US. Internal displacement is projected to increase in Afghanistan when drug agricultural issues collide with other security threats.

US maintains billions in Afghan funds frozen due to ties to terrorism, according to The Telegraph.

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication do not in anyway reflect the opinions of State News Ghana

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