International Economists Ask Biden To Release Money From Afghanistan’s Central Bank

FILE PHOTO: China Development Forum in Beijing

The letter states that foreign capital must return nearly $9 billion in Central Bank of Afghanistan assets to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) for the economy to function, despite criticism of the ruling Taliban’s behavior toward women and minorities.

“The people of Afghanistan have suffered doubly because of a government they did not elect,” the letter said. “To mitigate the humanitarian crisis and put the Afghan economy on a path to recovery, we urge you to allow DAB to restore its international reserves.”

The letter, also addressed to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, was signed by 71 economists and academics, many of them from the US, as well as Germany, India and the UK. Among them were former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor who was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics and a member of the advisory board of the Washington-based Center for Economics and Policy Research, who wrote a structured letter.

The Afghan economy has been in deep crisis since the Taliban took power nearly a year ago when foreign forces withdrew. The sudden drop in aid and other factors, including conflict-induced inflation in Ukraine, have contributed to this, but economists say the country faces severe hurdles due to the inability of its central bank to operate without access to its reserves.

This led to a sharp depreciation of the Afghani currency, driving up import prices, and almost collapsing the banking system, as citizens had difficulty accessing their savings and receiving their salaries.

“Without access to its foreign reserves, the Central Bank of Afghanistan will not be able to perform its basic and basic functions… Afghanistan’s economy has collapsed as expected,” the letter read.

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Washington and other capitals say they want to find a way to release the money for the Afghan people and not the Taliban, who have condemned it for severely curtailing women’s freedoms over the past year and are reported to be violating human rights, including through retaliation against them. former enemies.

The Taliban says it respects rights according to its interpretation of Islamic law, and that individual abuses will be investigated.

Despite widely diverging positions, the two sides are in detailed discussions about plans for the eventual release of central bank assets, of which nearly $7 billion is held in the United States. About half of these are currently being set aside as the subject of a lawsuit related to the September 11 attacks.

The main sticking points remain in the banking talks, especially with regard to US objections to the appointment of the Taliban deputy governor of the Central Bank, against whom US sanctions have been imposed.

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