‘Just Give US Our Money’: Taliban Push to Unlock Afghan Billions Abroad

11 months ago 109

FRANKFURT—Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities is pressing for the merchandise of billions of dollars of cardinal slope reserves arsenic the drought-stricken federation faces a currency crunch, wide starvation and a caller migration crisis.

Afghanistan parked billions of dollars successful assets overseas with the U.S. Federal Reserve and different cardinal banks successful Europe, but that wealth has been frozen since the Islamist Taliban ousted the Western-backed authorities successful August.

A spokesperson for the concern ministry said the authorities would respect quality rights, including the acquisition of women, arsenic helium sought caller funds connected apical of humanitarian assistance that helium said offered lone “small relief”.

Under Taliban regularisation from 1996-2001, women were mostly unopen retired of paid employment and acquisition and usually had to screen their faces and beryllium accompanied by a antheral comparative erstwhile they near home.

“The wealth belongs to the Afghan nation. Just springiness america our ain money,” ministry spokesperson Ahmad Wali Haqmal told Reuters. “Freezing this wealth is unethical and is against each planetary laws and values.”

One apical cardinal slope authoritative called connected European countries including Germany to merchandise their stock of the reserves to debar an economical illness that could trigger wide migration towards Europe.

“The concern is hopeless and the magnitude of currency is dwindling,” Shah Mehrabi, a committee subordinate of the Afghan Central Bank, told Reuters. “There is capable close present … to support Afghanistan going until the extremity of the year.

“Europe is going to beryllium affected astir severely, if Afghanistan does not get entree to this money,” said Mehrabi.

“You volition person a treble whammy of not being capable to find breadstuff and not being capable to spend it. People volition beryllium desperate. They are going to spell to Europe,” helium said.

The telephone for assistance comes arsenic Afghanistan faces a illness of its fragile economy. The departure of U.S.-led forces and galore planetary donors near the state without grants that financed 3 quarters of nationalist spending.

The concern ministry said it had a regular taxation instrumentality of astir 400 cardinal Afghanis ($4.4 million).

Although Western powers privation to avert a humanitarian catastrophe successful Afghanistan, they person refused to officially admit the Taliban government.

Haqmal said Afghanistan would let women an education, though not successful the aforesaid classrooms arsenic men.

Human rights, helium said, would beryllium respected but wrong the model of Islamic law, which would not see cheery rights.

“LGBT… That’s against our Sharia law,” helium said.

Mehrabi hopes that portion the United States has precocious said it volition not merchandise its lion’s stock of astir $9 cardinal of funds, European countries might.

He said Germany held fractional a cardinal dollars of Afghan wealth and that it and different European countries should merchandise those funds.

Mehrabi said that Afghanistan needed $150 cardinal each period to “prevent imminent crisis”, keeping the section currency and prices stable, adding that immoderate transportation could beryllium monitored by an auditor.

“If reserves stay frozen, Afghan importers volition not beryllium capable to wage for their shipments, banks volition commencement to collapse, nutrient volition go scarce, market stores volition beryllium empty,” Mehrabi said.

He said that astir $431 cardinal of cardinal slope reserves were held with German lender Commerzbank, arsenic good arsenic a further astir $94 cardinal with Germany’s cardinal bank, the Bundesbank.

The Bank for International Settlements, an umbrella radical for planetary cardinal banks successful Switzerland, holds a further astir $660 million. All 3 declined to comment.

The Taliban took backmost powerfulness successful Afghanistan successful August aft the United States pulled retired its troops, astir 20 years aft the Islamists were ousted by U.S.-led forces pursuing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks connected the United States.

By John O’Donnell



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