THE United States President Joe Biden has signed an executive order creating the possibility of splitting $7 billion in frozen Afghan funds held in the US, potentially allotting half for humanitarian aid to Kabul while keeping the other half available for possible seizure by victims of the September 11 attacks.
The executive order signed on Friday said the Administration “will seek to facilitate access to $3.5 billion” of the Afghan assets currently held by the Federal Reserve of New York “for the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future”.
As Afghanistan was facing a humanitarian crisis due to unjust restrictions by influential world powers, there was growing demand for release of frozen funds that could go a long way in mitigating sufferings of Afghan people.
In this backdrop, on the face of it, the decision of the US Administration to unfreeze half of the assets is a welcome move but regrettably there are ifs and buts that might make it insignificant development as far as people of Afghanistan are concerned.
In the first place, these assets belong to Afghanistan and must be put at the disposal of the Afghan Government which is looking after affairs of the entire country in a satisfactory manner.
There is no authentic evidence to prove that the 9/11 attack was carried out or sponsored by the then Afghan Government and, therefore, legally and morally the United States cannot divert funds of Afghanistan for making compensation to heirs of the victims of 9/11.
This is a classic example of ‘might is right’ and misuse of scant resources of a poor country by the world’s only superpower.
The reluctance on the part of the US Administration to utilize the remaining half through the Afghan Government also leaves possibility of diversion of funds for destabilization of the Taliban Government and hefty/undue payments to American contractors and NGOs as Pakistan witnessed under the Kerry-Lugar Bill when the money was wasted on programmes and projects that had no direct relevance to the welfare of the people or addressing core problems of the country.
The frozen assets belong to Afghanistan and must be handed over to the Afghan Government for proper utilization.