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US to disburse $3.5bn of frozen Afghan funds — Analysis

Washington is set to transfer part of the country’s central bank reserves to a fund in Switzerland

US officials are preparing to transfer half the $7 billion worth of Afghan central bank assets seized by the US to a Swiss bank for disbursement. Meanwhile, the Taliban demand that Afghanistan’s government be given the money.

The move was announced on Wednesday by the US Treasury, which stated that the $3.5 billion would be placed in a so-called ‘Afghan Fund’ set up at Switzerland’s Bank for International Settlements, and that the funds would be used to bolster Afghanistan’s macroeconomic stability by paying for things such as electricity imports and covering arrears at international financial institutions.

Bloomberg, other media outlets and two Treasury representatives spoke on condition of anonymity to journalists. They explained to them that this move was to stop the Taliban from accessing the cash, which they seized after the US withdraw from Afghanistan last year. 

“We don’t agree with the transfer of money to the account indicated, but [we wish for it] to be transferred to Da Afghanistan Bank {DAB, the country’s central bank},”TRT World reported that a Taliban DAB official said to the outlet that Afghanistan would support a third-party monitoring system in order to make sure the funds are properly spent.




Joe Biden, the President of the United States signed an executive order in February to release half of Afghan money seized by US institutions. “for the benefit of the Afghan people,”The other half was held in federal court proceedings involving victims of 9/11.

The international community, however, has condemned the Biden administration’s withholding of Afghan funds. Many argue that the move was detrimental to Afghan ordinary citizens, who already struggle under extreme poverty and hunger.

While the US is not denying that it was responsible for Afghanistan’s economic crisis, they insist that Russia and other countries are doing more to restore its economy. Afghanistan suffered an abrupt collapse last summer after Washington and its allies withdrew from the war.

Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia has hit back at such statements, accusing Washington of cynicism. “We are being asked to pull out our wallet to rebuild the country whose economy was virtually destroyed by the 20 years of occupation by the US and NATO,”He stated last month that the US must bear the consequences of its mistakes in Afghanistan.

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