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Afghans fight Joe Biden’s plan to give $3.5B in assets to 9/11 victims

Protesters gathered in Kabul Saturday to demonstrate against President Joe Biden’s controversial decision to free up $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan assets held in the United States to give to the relatives of 9/11 victims in America.

The demonstrators outside Kabul’s Eid Gah Mosque said the money should go to Afghans as compensation for the tens of thousands of Afghans killed during the 20-year war.

Biden signed an order Friday that allocates another $3.5 billion in Afghan assets to go into a United Nations trust fund that will provide humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.

The Afghan economy has been on the brink of disaster since the Taliban’s reconquest of the country in August 2021. Opponents of Biden’s plan are skeptical about how the United Nations will actually handle that money.

All the funds have been frozen in the U.S. banking system since the Taliban seized back to power. Before that, they were used to help hospitals, schools, factories and government ministries. 

Afghan protesters condemned President Biden’s decision to seize their country’s assets and reallocate them to Americans.
AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Torek Farhadi, a financial adviser to Afghanistan’s former US-backed government, questioned the UN’s control of the Afghan Central Bank reserves.

That money, he said, is not meant for humanitarian aid but “to back up the country’s currency, help in monetary policy and manage the country’s balance of payment.” Farhadi also said he wasn’t sure whether Biden’s order was legal.

“These reserves belong to the people of Afghanistan, not the Taliban. … Biden’s decision is one-sided and does not match with international law,” said Farhadi. “No other country on Earth makes such confiscation decisions about another country’s reserves.”

President Biden signed an executive order on Feb. 11, 2022, to create a pathway to split $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen in the US to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and to create a trust fund to compensate 9/11 victims.
President Biden signed an executive order on Feb. 11, 2022, set to split $7B in Afghan assets frozen in the US to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and to create a trust fund to compensate 9/11 victims.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Afghanistan has about $9 billion in assets overseas, including the $7 billion in the United States. The rest is mostly in Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

Signs in English at Saturday’s protest accused the United States of being cruel and of stealing the money of Afghans.

Taliban political spokesman Mohammad Naeem accused the Biden administration in a tweet late Friday of showing “the lowest level of humanity … of a country and a nation.”

Afghan protesters demonstrate, condemning President Biden's decision in Kabul, Afghanistan on Feb. 12, 2022.
Afghan protesters demonstrate condemning President Biden’s decision in Kabul, Afghanistan on Feb. 12, 2022.
AP

“I can’t remember the last time so many people of such vastly different world views were so united over a US policy decision on Afghanistan,” he tweeted.

With Post Wires

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