The Taliban government in Afghanistan urged the international community to lift sanctions and release the freeze on central bank assets on Saturday in the wake of the earthquake, which claimed more than 1,000 lives and left thousands homeless.

As the war-torn country struggles to fulfill the urgent needs, the catastrophic earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Afghanistan has sparked calls for the US to restore Afghan foreign reserves.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson for the Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told to Reuters “The Islamic Emirate is asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life, and that is through lifting the sanctions, unfreezing our assets, and also providing assistance”, in an interview.

The calls pressing Washington to unfreeze the frozen assets of Afghanistan, where US-led foreign forces completely withdrew last August, were organized by Hua Chunying, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“Why not give the $7 billion back to the Afghans”, Hua tweeted noting that if US “stands with the people of Afghanistan.”

Despite the fact that humanitarian help is still being provided to Afghanistan, funds required for longer-term development were stopped when the Taliban took over last August when foreign forces withdrew.

About $7 billion in Afghan reserves are held back by Washington. Since the US withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year conflict, the Joe Biden administration has made the decision to distribute the funds among 9/11 victims and returning only half of the total reserves to Kabul.

The Taliban’s call for the release of the frozen funds come at a time when a powerful earthquake devastatingly shook south-eastern provinces in Afghanistan, killing, wounding and displacing numerous Afghans.

The rights of women and girls to work and study while the Taliban are in power particularly concern the international community.

Author

  • Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).