KABUL, Afghanistan – The Russian ambassador Anna Vestinian at the UN Security Council called for the return of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, criticizing the latest announcement by the US government on creation of a foundation based in Switzerland that will use the funds.
Earlier this month, Biden administration moved to establish a foundation for managing $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan funds, according to sources, skirting Taliban in their efforts to having hands on what is known to be the last shot to stabilize country’s economy.
“It might seem that after numerous calls to the United States and its allies from the Afghans, American academia and civil society, there would be some progress with this issue,” said Russian deputy permanent representative at the UNSC, Anna Vestinian, as TOLOnews quoted.
“Alas, what followed was just a claim about the transfer of Afghan funds to an account in a Swiss bank,” she further said.
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“Reportedly, this money will not be accessible to the Afghan authorities and will be spent on some ephemeral socio-economic and humanitarian projects,” she added. “We call to return the stolen assets to the Afghan people immediately.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Deputy Ambassador Geng Shuang told the gathering that safeguarding the rights and interests of Afghan women and girls also means providing them with much needed humanitarian assistance.
“In this context, Afghanistan’s frozen overseas assets should be used expeditiously for the improvement of Afghan lives and economic reconstruction,” he said.
“Noting the recent developments and the statements of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, we call for the full and swift return of these frozen assets to the Afghan people as early as possible, so that they can be effectively used to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the humanitarian suffering of the Afghan people.”
Earlier this month, the US government announced the creation of a foundation based in Switzerland that will use the money help address the unfolding economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where more than half of the population are starving.
“Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14064, President Biden set a policy of enabling $3.5 billion of Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and other malign actors,” said US Treasury department in statement.
“The Afghan Fund will protect, preserve, and make targeted disbursements of that $3.5 billion to help provide greater stability to the Afghan economy,” the statement further said.
But the Afghan Ministry of Economy asked the US government to hand over the frozen assets of Afghanistan to the Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank). This way, they will be able to prioritize best for what is needed in the country.
“No one has the right to place conditions on how and by whom these funds should be used,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy of the ministry, as local media quoted.
Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crises deepened when Washington and other donors halted aid that funded 70% of the government budget following the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.