The President of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden, signed this Friday (02/11/2022) a decree that allows the United States to dispose of 7,000 million dollars from the Central Bank of Afghanistan deposited in US financial institutions, the White House reported. The money will be used to compensate the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Afghan people themselves in the form of humanitarian aid.
In an unusual move in which the US takes possession of another state’s assets, Biden is calling for the funds to be deposited in an account at the New York Federal Reserve, a public institution, with half going to the compensation claims from the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks and the rest to humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, but disbursed in such a way that the money does not fall into the hands of the Taliban, explained the White House.
That $7 billion arrived at the New York Federal Reserve and other US financial institutions before the Taliban took Kabul. A White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity assured that the process will take several months, so the money will not be distributed immediately.
Legally complicated situation
“It is very important to be able to take 3.5 billion dollars and guarantee that they are used for the benefit of the Afghan people” through a mechanism that Washington will discuss with its allies, the official said, adding that it also seeks to guarantee that the families of the victims of terrorism “can make their voices heard” in front of US federal justice. He also acknowledged that it is a “legally complicated” situation.
The United Nations and various humanitarian organizations have been pressuring governments around the world, especially the United States, for months to unblock the Afghan funds that were frozen after the Taliban took power in August last year.
The White House justified the decision in that these Afghan reserves came in part from international aid, particularly from the United States, received by the country. The gross reserves of the Central Bank of Afghanistan stood at the end of April 2021 at 9.4 billion dollars, according to the International Monetary Fund. That sum is deposited in banks in Switzerland, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, the country where most of the money is.
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