The move to split frozen funds by the US was slammed as “an act on revenge on Afghans.”
Officials from the interim Afghan government are in Qatar for talks with GCC and EU envoys on the latest situation in Afghanistan and women’s rights.
The meetings come as the de-facto government continues to engage with the international community in an effort to break Afghanistan’s isolation. On Monday, GCC representatives discussed the need to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan with the Afghan administration. Respecting the country’s sovereignty was also a crucial point of discussions.
The Afghan delegation is scheduled to meet members from the EU in Doha.
The importance of respecting women’s rights in Afghanistan was also on the meeting’s agenda.
Frozen Afghan reserves
On Friday, US President Joe Biden ordered the release $7 billion of Afghanistan’s frozen funds. Those reserves were frozen following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul. Out of the total amount, Afghans living under the rippling impact of decades of war are going to receive $3.5 billion. The other half is going towards victims of the 11 September attacks.
“The executive order is designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan, whilst keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and malicious actors,” said the White House.
Afghanistan also has billions of reserves in Germany, the UAE and Switzerland. Afghans and activists around the world slammed the decision to split the money as “theft” and “punishment” carried out by the US.
“Many Afghans didn’t know about the 9/11 attacks and why the US invaded and bombed them for 20 yrs, but this time,”said Mohsin Amin, Policy Analyst and Researcher from Afghanistan.
“Even farmers in my village understand that the US is punishing them with hunger and sanctions by targeting commercial activity and suspending ongoing development projects.”
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the funds only belong to Afghanistan. He called on the US to return the money to the country’s central bank. “No one punishes the victim,” said Karzai.
The US invasion of Afghanistan contributed to the country’s current state. It left behind over 70,000 civilian casualties and destroyed the country’s infrastructure. Members of the international community were hesitant to provide Afghanistan with much-needed aid after the Taliban militarily seized power. This contributed to the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with Afghans unable to withdraw more than $200 a week in Afghani alone.
In January, the UN appealed for $5 billion in an effort to support Afghanistan. This is the organisation’s largest appeal for a single country.
Nearly 90% of the country’s population of 38 million live on less than $1.90 a day.