US lawmakers urge Biden to restore Afghan central bank assets

US lawmakers urge Biden to restore Afghan central bank assets
US lawmakers urge Biden to restore Afghan central bank assets

Several members of the House of Representatives, including the ruling Democratic Party of the United States, have urged President Joe Biden to restore the frozen assets of the Afghan Central Bank in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the economic crisis-ridden country.

A letter addressed to the US president had the signatures of 46 members of the House of Representatives, the majority of whom are members of the ruling Democratic Party.

Lawmakers have called on President Biden to lift sanctions on Afghanistan and restore the frozen assets of the Afghan central bank.

The United States imposed sanctions on Afghanistan in August after the Taliban took control of Kabul, and about افغان 10 billion in Afghan central bank assets were frozen in US banks.

The letter said US sanctions on the Taliban leaders in power were affecting international financial institutions and charities operating in Afghanistan.

A statement issued by the White House in response to the letter said, "Afghanistan has its hands tied over the restoration of frozen assets." However, the United States is cooperating in every possible way to deliver humanitarian aid there.

Afghanistan's economy, which has been dependent on foreign aid for 20 years due to sanctions and aid cuts, is struggling, while experts fear a major humanitarian catastrophe due to winter and food shortages.

Leaders of the Taliban government in Afghanistan have also repeatedly called on the United States to restore its frozen assets in order to revive the economy.

The United Nations says half the country's 40 million people are starving. More than 1 million children are feared to die of malnutrition due to severe hunger.

The US lawmakers further wrote in the letter that the US freezing of  9.4 billion in Afghanistan has led to rising inflation in the country and closure of commercial establishments and shutdown of private business which has caused economic and humanitarian crisis in the country. Is happening

The letter said tough economic policies would not weaken Taliban leaders, but would hurt innocent Afghans who are already reeling from decades of war and poverty.

According to lawmakers, "we and aid groups fear that if the situation does not change, things could get worse in Afghanistan now than in the last 20 years of war."

The letter warns that the economic crisis in Afghanistan and the human tragedy could lead to another migration crisis in the region.

Aid agencies working in Afghanistan have been calling for speeding up relief work, but say sanctions have hampered their work.

According to the Washington Post, Republicans in Congress have said that the Taliban should not have access to any foreign funding.

The United States and no country in the world has so far recognized the Taliban government.

The Biden administration demands that the Taliban sever ties with terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, end operations against members of the former government, run Afghanistan together with other groups, and allow women to participate in life's affairs, including human rights. At the same time, do not hinder the education of girls.

The letter also lamented the Taliban's complaints of human rights abuses, crackdowns on civil society and denial of women's rights.

White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie said in response to a question from VOA about the letter that a lawsuit filed by 9/11 victims over Afghan assets was pending in court.

He said that along with the court proceedings, the administration was also facing the difficult question of how to keep aid out of the reach of the Taliban and reach ordinary Afghans.

He added that the Taliban were still on the US list of international terrorist groups, and that court hearings were complicating matters.