Taliban insist on release of Afghanistan’s central bank assets

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Highlighting the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has called on the US to immediately release Afghanistan’s central bank assets.

Mr Muttaqi made these remarks during an interview where he said the US was no longer engaged in a war with Afghanistan and that freezing the Afghan assets lacked “logical” justification, local media reported.

“The assets should be freed immediately. The Americans don’t have any military front with us now. What is the reason for freezing the assets? The assets don’t belong to the Mujahideen (Islamic Emirate) but to the people of Afghanistan,” Mr Muttaqi said.

“The US froze our assets and then told us that it will provide us humanitarian aid. What does it mean?” Mr Muttaqi questioned.

Some experts believe that the holding of Afghan assets is affecting the people of Afghanistan who are struggling with severe economic challenges.

Political analyst Tajar Kakar said: “The winter is on the way. The people are in a very bad condition with many lives under the tent. The children are in a critical condition. The world should think about the people of Afghanistan.”

Earlier, Mr Muttaqi had sent a letter to the US Congress, urging the lawmakers to free the Afghan assets, citing the intense economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

In response to the letter, the US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said that the “Taliban’s letter” misconstrued the facts regarding the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis. “Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, and the pandemic,” he said.

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and along with that, the security situation has worsened since the Taliban took control of the country. Millions of Afghans will face starvation this winter unless urgent action is taken, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Nearly 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the Afghan population, are estimated to be in crisis or experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity between now and March of next year.

In its latest situation report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) expresses concern about “conditional humanitarianism” or attempts to “leverage” humanitarian assistance for political purposes.

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