The US reportedly says it would transfer $3.5 billion in Afghan Central Bank assets frozen when the Taliban took power last year to a new Swiss-based trust fund.
According to international media reports, Afghan central bank assets will be moved to a new Swiss-based trust fund that will be protected from the Taliban and utilized to assist stabilize Afghanistan’s collapsing economy.
The Afghan Fund, which is overseen by a board of trustees, will pay for necessary imports such as power, settle debt payments to international financial institutions, thereby preserving Afghanistan’s eligibility for development assistance, and fund the printing of new currency, according to SWI, the international unit of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
According to US authorities, no funds would be transferred to the Afghan Central Bank, known as Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), till it is “free of political interference.”
The establishment of the new trust fund follows months of negotiations between the Taliban, who seek the release of billions of dollars in DAB assets held in the US and overseas, and the US President Joe Biden, Switzerland, and other parties.
The Central Bank of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange holdings were frozen by the US when the Taliban seized control of the country, and talks to release them had been advancing in recent months. However, the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri put a temporary halt to these talks.
This comes as the majority of the Afghan population is facing acute hunger and experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises exacerbated by natural disasters.