Taliban call on US Congress to release Afghan assets


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Kabul (AFP) – The Taliban on Wednesday called on members of the US Congress to release frozen Afghan assets after they took control of the country, warning that economic turmoil in the country could lead to problems abroad.

In an open letter, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the biggest challenge Afghanistan faces was financial insecurity, “and the roots of this concern are leading to the freezing of the assets of our people. by the US government ”.

Washington seized nearly $ 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank, and the aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed – with officials unpaid for months and the Treasury unable to pay the costs. imports.

The countries concerned have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, but are reluctant to commit funds unless the Taliban accepts a more inclusive government and guarantees the rights of women and minorities.

“I offer you our compliments and I would like to share some thoughts on our bilateral relations,” Muttaqi wrote, noting that 2021 was the centenary of Washington’s recognition of the sovereignty of Afghanistan.

With measured understatement, he added: “As with other countries around the world, our bilateral relations have also seen their ups and downs.”

Threat of “mass migration”

Muttaqi said Afghanistan enjoyed a stable government for the first time in over 40 years – a period that began with an invasion by the Soviet Union in 1979 and ended with the withdrawal of the last US troops. August 31.

From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist, brutally violating human rights in the name of Islamic law, raising fears of a return to their abuses.

Since their return to power, the Taliban have gone to great lengths to convince the international community that they intend to do things differently this time around – although no female ministers have been appointed and the girls have not. are still not allowed to return to high school.

“Practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency,” Muttaqi wrote.

“No threat is posed to the region or the world by Afghanistan and a path has been opened for positive cooperation.”

Muttaqi said the Afghans “understand the concerns of the international community” but that all parties need to take positive steps to build confidence.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, shown here in Islamabad on November 12, 2021, noted that bilateral relations between the Islamists and the United States have “had its ups and downs.” Farooq NAEEM AFP / File

He warned, however, that the economic situation could trigger a mass exodus.

“If the current situation prevails, the Afghan government and people will face problems and become a cause of mass migration in the region and around the world, which will therefore create new humanitarian and economic problems,” he said. -he declares.

Muttaqi said the United States risked further damage to its reputation in the country “and this will be the worst memory entrenched among Afghans in America’s hands.”

“We hope that members of the US Congress will think deeply about this,” he added.

“I ask … so that the doors to future relations are opened, that the assets of the Afghan Central Bank be unfrozen and that the sanctions against our banks be lifted.”


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