A man counts Afghan currency at a money exchange in Kabul on Dec. 20, 2021. MOHD RASFAN/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban’s foreign affairs ministry on Thursday condemned the United States’ decision to transfer Afghan central bank reserves into a Swiss-based trust, according to sources, saying it was against international norms.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration moved to establish a foundation for managing $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan funds, skirting Taliban in their efforts to having hands on what is known to be the last shot to stabilize country’s economy.   

The U.S. decision “to transfer a part of the reserves of the Central Bank of Afghanistan to Switzerland and use it for targeted disbursement without any input by Afghanistan as unacceptable and a violation of international norms,” spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said in a statement, as Reuters quoted.

“If the reserves are disbursed without taking into consideration legitimate demands of the Afghans, the Islamic Emirate will be forced to impose fines against, and ban activities of, all individuals, institutions and companies that facilitate this illegal venture and seek to misuse central bank reserves for humanitarian and other purposes,” he said.

Though U.S. officials have had talks for months with Taliban and Afghan central bank officials, Washington has said no money would go to the bank until it is “free of political interference”.

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Now, with several international partners, 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.

“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.

Da Afghanistan Bank (also known as the Afghan central bank) funds have been frozen in thirteen banks and eight countries since the collapse of former government, paralyzing its operations that regulate all banking and money handling in Afghanistan. 

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