Taliban Asks US Congress to Release Frozen Assets

The Taliban on Wednesday called on the United States Congress to release Afghanistan’s central bank assets frozen by the US government. 

Taliban Acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, in a letter to the US Congress warned that continued sanctions will not help the current situation and could instead lead to a major crisis including a mass migration.

Muttaqi said that the Afghan people have a right to financial security after suffering decades of war.

“Currently the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,” the letter reads.

According to Muttaqi, following the signing of the Doha Agreement in February last year, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) “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?”

“We believe that both sides have a great opportunity to build positive relations, moving forward and learn lessons from past bitter experiences. At a time when we have an excellent opportunity for positive relations, reaching for the option of sanctions and pressure cannot help improve our relations,” he added.

Muttaqi said the country now has a “united, responsible and non-corrupt government,” and that “practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency, islands of power have been eliminated, agents of corruption, embezzlement, usurpation and infringement of other rights have been neutralized, security has taken hold throughout the country, no threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation.”

“Afghanistan now has everything available for growth and development, and the United States of America can also invest in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan,” he said.

Meanwhile Muttaqi added that the Taliban understands “the concerns of the international community and America, and it is necessary for both sides to take positive steps in order to build trust.”

Muttaqi further added that freezing of assets and economic sanctions can harm health, education and other civil service systems and that this “will only harm the common Afghans and this will serve as the worst memory ingrained in Afghans at the hands of America.”

Addressing the deepening humanitarian crisis, Muttaqi said that Afghanistan has already been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, drought, war and poverty and that the imposition of sanctions has hampered trade and impacted the process of providing humanitarian assistance.

“Assessments by the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations conclude that if these conditions continue, the Afghans will face a dire situation this winter,” he said.

There is no “logical” justification for allowing women and children to suffer due to the lack of health services, food, shelter and other primary needs, the letter reads.

“In conclusion, 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,” the letter reads.

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