KABUL, Nov 18 (Asia Free Press): Afghanistan new government has urged the United States to release its frozen assets as economic and humanitarian crisis escalate in the war-torn country.
In an open letter addressed to the UN Congress, acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that financial security is presently the most difficult challenge for the Afghan people and that the fundamental reason for this is the freezing of assets amounting roughly to $10 billion by the US.
“It is quite surprising that with the announcement of the new government, the administration of the United States of America slapped sanctions on the assets of our Central Bank. This goes against our expectations as well as the Doha Agreement,” Muttaqi wrote in his letter.
He invited Washington to invest in different sectors of Afghanistan as now Taliban has no enmity with the US after 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?,” Afghan top envoy said and adding! “We believe that both sides have a great opportunity to build positive relations, moving forward and learn lessons from past bitter experiences.”
He added that the new Afghan government understand the concerns of the international community and America, and suggested that to resolve these issues both sides need to take positive steps in order to build trust.
“We are of the belief that freezing Afghan assets cannot resolve the problem at hand neither is it the demand of the American people, hence your government must unfreeze our capital,” he said.
Taliban foreign minister warned that the US sanctions and frozen funds created economic problems in Afghanistan and it would cause mass migration in the region and world which will consequently create further humanitarian and economic issues for the world.
“Freezing of assets and economic sanctions can harm systems of health, education and other civil services from which the general public benefit. Damage to these building blocks will only harm the common Afghans and this will serve as the worst memory ingrained in Afghans at the hands of America,” he explained
Muttaqi urged the US Congress to play its role and unfreeze Afghanistan’s funds that were blocked by the Biden administration in mid-August after the Taliban took over the country.
“I request the government of the United States of America take responsible steps towards addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding in Afghanistan so that doors for future relations are opened, assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank are unfrozen and sanctions on our banks are lifted.,” Muttaqi concluded.
On Wednesday, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ms Deborah Lyons while briefing the UN Security Council praised the Taliban government cooperation with the UN organisation and said the country moving to humanitarian crises because of US sanctions.
“The financial sanctions applied to Afghanistan have paralyzed the banking system, affecting every aspect of the economy,” Lyons told the world top body. “GDP has contracted by an estimated 40 per cent. Cash is severely limited. Traders cannot obtain letters of credit. People who have worked and saved for years cannot access their savings. Civil servants’ salaries cannot be paid in full, if at all,” she added.
The UN special envoy warned that due to these sanctions, the country hospitals are running out of medicine and turning away patients.
“Prices have gone up as goods have become scarcer, instituting a punishing tax on the poorest and most vulnerable Afghans. Fuel and food prices have risen as winter approaches. An entire complex social and economic system is shutting down in part due to the asset freeze, the suspension of non-humanitarian aid flows and sanctions.”
She urged the international community that this is not the time to turn their backs on the Afghan people and if they do their collective failure will resonate for decades—as will the pain of millions of Afghans.