News ID: 105842
Publish Date : 17 August 2022 - 21:13

WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden does not plan to release billions of dollars in Afghan government assets held in the United States anytime soon.
“We do not see recapitalization of the D.A.B. as a near-term option,” said Thomas West, the American government’s special representative for Afghanistan, referring to the Afghan Central Bank.
“We do not have confidence that that institution has the safeguards and monitoring in place to manage assets responsibly,” West said in a statement.
He said American officials had abandoned the idea of releasing the money after it was revealed that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had been living in the heart of Kabul apparently with the protection of the Taliban until he was killed in a drone strike last month.
“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,” he said.
Ned Price, the U.S. State Department spokesman, earlier said that the U.S. had no plans to release $3.5 billion in frozen funds to Afghanistan’s Taliban-controlled Central Bank. “We don’t see recapitalization of the Afghan central bank as a near-term option.”
Biden has frozen the assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank since the withdrawal of its occupation forces from the country in August 2021. Many U.S. allies and Western governments have also largely suspended their financial assistance to Afghanistan since the U.S. troop withdrawal and the Taliban takeover of the country.
In February, Afghanistan condemned a decision by the United States to seize billions of dollars in frozen Afghan funds to pay the claimants of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The White House had earlier announced that the U.S. Treasury planned to block half of the $7-billion Afghan funds frozen in the US banks to distribute among the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Biden in February issued an executive order allocating half of the money for distribution to families of the victims.
Afghanistan’s Taliban administration has repeatedly called on foreign governments to roll back the sanctions imposed on Kabul and unfreeze the country’s central bank assets.

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