Despite tensions between the US and the Taliban over the presence and assassination of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, US President Joe Biden’s administration will move forward with negotiations to release billions of dollars of Afghan frozen foreign assets, Reuters reported citing sources.
Reuters reported on Monday, citing three undisclosed sources, that the Joe Biden administration is committed to pursuing talks with the Taliban over the release of Afghanistan’s held foreign reserves.
As winter approaches and more than half of Afghans are experiencing “acute hunger,” the US has decided to move the talks with the Taliban forward.
The stated reason behind the decision of the US is to stabilize Afghanistan’s precarious economy while it goes through the “worst” humanitarian crisis in the world.
The US reportedly suspended talks with the Taliban administration over the country’s frozen assets after Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by a US drone strike in Kabul.
According to American authorities cited by The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration had decided not to release the blocked reserves of Afghanistan following the assassination of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
“The strike did not change the U.S. government’s commitment to setting up the international trust fund,” Reuters reported citing a US source.
The released foreign funds are planned to be moved to a Swiss-based account as a trust fund, where an international board will oversee its management, according to information that has been made publicly available.
Given that they are subject to US and UN sanctions, Taliban officials are excluded from the disbursement process.
Before the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in 2021, the Central Bank of Afghanistan had $2 billion in deposits in Europe and about $7 billion in reserves on deposit at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.