Biden Decides the Fate of $7 Billion in Afghan Funds

Amid the rising humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Joe Biden approved an executive order on Friday to decide the fate of $7 billion in Afghanistan’s money seized by the United States.

The new order will potentially distribute half the money in aid to Afghan people, while the remaining half would be used to compensate victims of 9/11 attacks.

The fate of $7 billion Afghanistan funds

According to the administration, it would need the permission of a judge to establish a humanitarian fund for the people of Afghanistan.

When the former Afghan president, the acting governor of the central bank, and many other top officials fled the country in August, they left almost $7 billion of funds deposited at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

According to the New York Times, as no one had the legal authority to withdraw those funds, the Fed froze them, instead of giving them to the Taliban.

After coming back to power, the Taliban immediately asked for money, but a group of relatives of 9/11 victims claimed the money should be used to pay them instead.

Reportedly, the economy of Afghanistan is collapsing with each passing day, which is leading to mass starvation.

 

Ultimately, all of this is encouraging more Afghans to leave the war-torn country, resulting in mass refugee movements in different parts of the world.

9/11 victims wanted to get compensated with the frozen funds

Some people aware of the situation told the New York Times (on the condition of anonymity) that the White House National Security Council worked with officials from the Department of Justice, Treasury and State Departments to decide the fate of the frozen funds.

The money, which is in the form of gold, bonds, and currency, originally came from foreign exchange funds. These funds were generated in the last two decades, majorly by the donations of the United States and other western countries.

About half a billion dollars belonged to the commercial banks of Afghanistan, which are bound to keep a specific amount of money in the central bank under the law.

Once the Taliban introduced their own representative as the head of the central bank of the country, they wanted the money back. However, under the US-imposed counter-terrorism sanctions, America was bound not to deal with the Taliban financially under any condition.

The New York Times claimed the United States had the option to leave the money untouched for years to come and gather interest on it, hoping the money would be available to withdraw again once the Taliban loses power.

However, a group of almost 150 relatives of the 9/11 victims was quick to claim the money. The same group already won a case against AlQaeda and the Taliban a few years ago. 

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem called it “theft,” stating it signifies the “lowest level of human and moral decay.”

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