(Washington) In a very extraordinary move, Joe Biden has signed an executive order allowing him to control the nearly $ 7 billion Afghan Central Bank assets deposited in the United States, half of which he wants to reserve for families. 9/11 victims.
Posted 9:43 am
The White House has said it intends to use the “extraordinary financial powers” given to it by the American president to transfer the assets to a blocked account of the Federal Reserve of New York, a government agency.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem responded on Twitter that “stealing and seizing the money of the Afghan people held / frozen in the hands of the United States signifies a country and the nation’s lowest level of human and moral decline.”
The assets of central banks are most often financial securities, currencies or gold.
Joe Biden wants the families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks to set aside half of the amount for specially filed compensation claims.
Deora Bodley, a 20-year-old college student, was the youngest of 40 passengers and crew who died when hijacked Flight 93 crashed on a farm in Pennsylvania.
His aunt, Sandra Bodley, blamed Joe Biden’s decision, saying “the Afghan people are not responsible for 9/11.”
Afghanistan “was destroyed […] And all available funds should be dedicated to helping the Afghans, ”she added.
Joe Biden wants to allocate the rest of the reserves to humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, but the money will be paid so that it does not fall into the hands of the Taliban, the White House explained.
“It is important that the two take in $ 3.5 billion and ensure that it is used for the benefit of the Afghan people,” he said, adding that “it is important that the families of the victims of terrorism be assured that their voices will be heard before US federal justice,” a senior White House official told a news conference.
Clearly, leaving nearly $ 3.5 billion pending for the outcome of legal action brought by these families demanding the seizure of Afghan assets is a question.
A senior U.S. official, who wants to remain anonymous, agreed that the set of operations conducted by the White House was “legally complicated” and argued that Friday’s announcement was just the beginning of a process that could take months.
The path chosen by the US President, who is looking to seize assets belonging to another state at a time when Afghanistan is facing a severe humanitarian crisis, is leading to much controversy.
The Taliban demanded that the Central Bank of Afghanistan control its reserves, and Russia, in particular, demanded that the United States release the assets.
In total, according to the International Monetary Fund, the gross reserves of the Afghan Central Bank stood at $ 9.4 billion at the end of April 2021.
This amount was deposited before the Taliban regained power last August, mainly abroad and mostly in the United States.
Aware of the controversy surrounding the decision, White House officials assured that these reserves of the Afghan Central Bank would “come from continuous and significant assistance”. [à l’Afghanistan, NDLR] From the United States and other international donors for over two decades.
The American executive also recalled that the United States was already a major aid supplier to Afghanistan and assured that this bilateral assistance would be separate from the process of freezing the Afghan Central Bank assets.
“This decree will allow a significant portion of Afghanistan’s reserves to be kept for the benefit of the Afghan people, but we understand that the Taliban’s occupation will not solve Afghanistan’s economic problems in the usual way,” the White House said in a statement.