Pakistan urges return of Afghanistan’s assets to its people after US splits funds for aid, 9/11 families

The funds were deposited by Afghanistan’s central bank in the United States before the Taliban took over last year and have since been made unavailable to the Taliban. Much of the money comes from U.S. and other international donations over the past 20 years: Munir Akram

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NEW YORK: Pakistan has called for returning Afghanistan’s national assets, held in the United States, to the Afghan people, saying that money was “critically needed” to revive the country’s war-battered economy.

Asked to comment on the U.S. move to free up $7 billion in assets from the Afghan central bank, half of which could go to humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and the other half for compensation to the families of 9/11 victims,” Ambassador Munir Akram remarked, “Half a loaf is better than none.”

At the same time, the Pakistani envoy emphasized that “there is something wrong with a financial system where one State can unilaterally block the National assets of another to pay off questionable claims by its own citizens.”

The funds were deposited by Afghanistan’s central bank in the United States before the Taliban took over last year and have since been made unavailable to the Taliban. Much of the money comes from U.S. and other international donations over the past 20 years.

“We have consistently joined the calls of the international community as well as the senior UN officials and the international humanitarian actors to unfreeze Afghanistan’s reserves,” Ambassador Akram said.

“This money is critically needed to revive and sustain the Afghan economy, inject much needed liquidity, and to save millions of lives in the middle of a harsh winter,” he said

“In addition, this money is also needed to provide basic amenities to the people including health and education as well as to build critical infrastructure.”

“The most effective and generous display of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan at this critical juncture would be the return of the national assets of Afghanistan to its people to whom they belong and to whom they must return,” Ambassador Akram added. Separately, Pakistan’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram noted, “This money is critically needed to revive and sustain the Afghan economy, inject much-needed liquidity, and to save millions of lives in the middle of a harsh winter.”

“There is something wrong with a financial system where one State can unilaterally block the National assets of another to pay off questionable claims by its own citizens,” Akram added.

The $7 billion in funds from Afghanistan Bank, the country’s central bank, that was on deposit at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, have been frozen since then-President Ashraf Ghani’s government collapsed after the Taliban takeover at the end of August 2021.

 

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