One year after Taliban takeover
August 11, 2022 - The Afghan economy has plunged into crisis since the U.S. military withdrew and the Taliban took over in a ten-day lightning blitz in August 2021.
Seventy-one economists and experts, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, have called for Washington and other nations to release Afghanistan’s central bank foreign reserves assets in a letter sent to U.S. President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday (August 10, 2022).
The letter said foreign capitals needed to return roughly $9 billion in Afghan central bank assets to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB). The U.S. holds $7 billion, while Britain, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates are blocking $2 billion.
“The people of Afghanistan have been made to suffer doubly for a government they did not choose,” the letter said. “In order to mitigate the humanitarian crisis and set the Afghan economy on a path toward recovery, we urge you to allow DAB to reclaim its international reserves.”
The U.S. and other countries say they want to find a way to release the funds for the benefit of the Afghan people while not benefiting the Taliban, whom they have condemned for imposing severe restrictions on women’s freedoms in the past year, harbouring Al Qaeda and Islamic State militants and torturing and executing former government officials.
“Seventy percent of Afghan households are unable to meet their basic needs,” they wrote. “Some 22.8 million people -- over half the population -- face acute food insecurity, and three million children are at risk of malnutrition.”
- The U.S. War in Afghanistan (Council on Foreign Relations)
- Costs of War (Brown University)
- Taliban forces responsible for nearly 40 percent of civilian deaths and injuries (United Nations)
- The ISIS-K Resurgence (Wilson Center)
- Final weeks of fighting among deadliest for Afghan security forces, former official says (Washington Post)