Thursday, September 29, 2022

Taliban regime: Economic experts demand US release Afghan Arabs

KBarely a year after the radical Islamic Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, dozens of economic experts have called on the US government to release frozen billions from the Afghan central bank. In a letter published on Wednesday to US President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 71 economists and development experts said the $7 billion (6.85 billion euro) moratorium has worsened the economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.

The authors of the letter, including Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, expressed “deeply concerned about the economic and humanitarian devastation in Afghanistan, and in particular the role of US policy”. Without access to its foreign currency, the Afghan central bank cannot fulfill its “normal, basic functions”. “As expected, without a functioning central bank, the Afghan economy collapsed.”

“70 percent of Afghan households can’t meet their basic needs”

The Afghan central bank’s foreign reserves will play a central role in the country’s economy – regulating the money supply, stabilizing the currency and financing imports – mainly food and oil.

Economic experts paint a hazy picture of the situation in Afghanistan. “70 percent of Afghan families cannot meet their basic needs,” he wrote in his letter. “About 22.8 million people – more than half the population – face acute food insecurity and 3 million children are at risk of malnutrition.”

After the Taliban came to power in August 2021 following the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan, the US government froze $7 billion from the Afghan central bank that was in the US. In February, the Biden administration said half of it would go to help Afghans in need. However, the money should really reach the population.

Half of the frozen central bank money is to be withheld for the relatives of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Economic experts have condemned this in their letter to the US government. “The entire $7 billion belongs to the Afghan people,” he wrote. “A less than full amount undermines the recovery of a ravaged economy.”

In his letter, the experts also address the two billion dollar Afghan central bank funds frozen by Germany, Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Nation World News Desk
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