By Ai Min
The US president Joe Biden recently signed an executive order planning to spend half of the USD senven billion frozen assets in the US that belonged to the Central Bank of Afghanistan on compensating the victims of the 9/11 attacks and transfer the other half to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for creating a trust fund that will be distributed by what the US called humanitarian organizations to nominally provide aid for Afghanistan. The US made it clear that it will not return the assets to the Taliban.
Analysts pointed out that the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was entirely the making of the US, and now the superpower is blatantly taking away its“life-saving money”. That will not only pour fuel on the flame of misery that the Afghans are afflicted with, but will exert far-reaching negative impacts on the international community.
Statistics show that before the Taliban came to power, the Central Bank of Afghanistan controlled about $9 billion foreign exchange reserves, of which about $7 billion was deposited at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York in a mixture of gold, cash, US Treasury bonds and other paper money. Not having a well-developed financial reserve system of its own, the Central Bank of Afghanistan also deposited a total of about $2 billion assets in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, UAE and other countries.
Following Taliban’s control of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on August 15, 2021, the international community cut off all the aid to the country, and the Biden administration took the chance to freeze the $7 billion forex reserves in New York, which, it is learned, consisted of both international aids and the savings of ordinary Afghan people.
After the executive order was signed by Biden, Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman of the Taliban political office, criticized the decision as stealing the properties of the Afghan people. The office protested that there were no Afghans among the people executing the 9/11 attacks, nor was the attacking plane from Afghanistan, then why on earth should the US use Afghan people’s money to compensate for 9/11 victims? On the contrary, it is the US that has waged a war in Afghanistan and thrown its people into the abyss of suffering. Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai commented days ago that the US government’s detention of forex reserves of the Afghan Central Bank is equivalent to slaughtering of the Afghan people.
In fact, such an arrangement for the frozen Afghan assets reflects the Biden administration’s selfish calculations. On the one hand, it can use the money to buy support among the voters; on the other hand, it will control how the so-called trust fund for Afghan people’s “relief” will be used and at what pace, which is a new way for it to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
Such a selfish move doubtlessly lends one more blow to the teetering Afghan economy. The country is experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis with its economic recession, ongoing drought, protracted conflict, and spreading pandemic posing the most severe challenge to its people. According to statistics, about 23 million people in Afghanistan don’t have enough to eat now, 3.2 million children under five suffer from malnutrition, and about 3.5 million are made homeless.
Biden’s decision met vehement objection from the international community as well. Foreign ministries of countries such as Russia, Iran and Pakistan said the Afghan people have the right to use their assets deposited around the world as needed, and the frozen Afghan assets in the US should be returned to them. Taliban said earlier on that it would reconsider its US policy if Washington doesn’t revoke its unjust decision to peculate the Afghan assets. In the meantime, economic plummeting is accompanied by soaring terrorism in Afghanistan, which will not only threaten the security of the country itself but also undermine the anti-terror efforts in countries worldwide.