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USA Allows Part of Frozen Assets From Afghanistan’s Central Bank to be used for Aid

US President Joe Biden yesterday signed an Executive Order allowing some of the frozen assets from war-torn Afghanistan’s central bank to be distributed as assistance to the local people and to victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, a statement released by the White House said.

When Kabul was taken over by the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan had over $9 billion in reserves held in the name of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), or the central bank, outside of the country. This includes $7 billion in reserves held in the US, with the rest of the reserves largely being in Germany, the UAE, Switzerland, and a couple of other states.

“The administration will seek to facilitate access to $3.5 billion of those assets for the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future pending a judicial decision,” the statement said.

The statement further said that many American victims of terrorism, including relatives of those who died in the 9/11 attacks, have brought claims against the Taliban and are pursuing the DAB assets in federal court.

Due to this, “more than $3.5 billion in DAB assets would remain in the US and are subject to ongoing litigation by American victims of terrorism. Plaintiffs will have a full opportunity to have their claims heard in court”.

Senior administration officials clarified that signing of the Executive Order “is one step forward in a process, and no funds are going to be transferred until the court makes a ruling”.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Taliban’s political office in Doha Naeem Wardak slammed the US for not unfreezing the entire frozen assets.

In a tweet, he said: “Stealing the blocked funds of Afghan nation by the United States of America and its seizure (of those funds) shows the lowest level of humanity … of a country and a nation.”

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