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Saturday, 13 August 2022 03:38

International economists urge Afghanistan's central bank assets to be returned

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Seventy economists and international experts are urging the US government and other countries to get out the assets of Afghanistan's central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank. The insistence was stated in a letter sent to United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday (10/8).

As quoted from Republika.com (11/08), the international economists said that the Afghan assets worth US$9 billion need to be returned to stimulate the country's economy. They argue that Afghanistan has experienced a humanitarian crisis that has made the people suffer severely. To mitigate that and set the Afghan economy on a path to recovery, economists urged the United States to allow Afghanistan's central bank to recover its international reserves.

Since August 2021, when the Taliban took over and foreign troops withdrew from the country, the United States has frozen nearly US$9.5 billion in assets belonging to Afghanistan's central bank; most of which is in Federal Reserve accounts,  New York and US-based financial institutions. The freezing of Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves abroad has caused  a shortage of funds and cash in the country.

This has become one of the triggers for worsening the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. In May 2022, as quoted from IDN Times (04/5/2022), there were 24 million Afghans in dire need of humanitarian assistance. This figure increased by 5.6 million people when compared to the previous year. About 70 percent of households in Afghanistan are reported to be unable to meet their basic daily needs.

Seeing the increasingly worrisome condition of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, efforts to overcome the problems in this country are urgently needed at this time. One way is to return funds or assets of the Da Afghanistan Bank held in the accounts of the New York Federal Reserve and US-based financial institutions, as economists call. However, it seems that the international community, including the United States, is still reluctant to grant this.

It is the hard-line policies of the Taliban government that are likely to make the United States and the international community still reluctant to disburse funds from Afghanistan's central bank assets that are very much needed by the country.

If that's the case, the Taliban government should live up to its commitment to respecting human rights and women's rights when they took over Afghanistan last year. They do not have to rule their country as they did during the reign in the 1996-2001 period which was full of restrictions. (VOI)

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