U.S. moves to free $7 billion in Afghan assets to aid Afghan people, 9/11 victims

Steps come amid mounting pressure in Congress for the Biden administration to use the frozen Afghan reserves

February 11, 2022 09:24 pm | Updated 09:24 pm IST - WASHINGTON

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

Photo used for representational purpose only. File

The U.S. government will take steps on Friday to free half of the $7 billion in frozen Afghan reserves held in the United States to aid the Afghan people without providing the Taliban access to the funds, sources familiar with the plan said.

A multi-step plan calls for the other half of the funds to remain in the United States, subject to ongoing litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism, including relatives of those who died in the September 11, 2001, hijacking attacks, the sources said.

The moves come amid mounting pressure in Congress for the Biden administration to use the frozen Afghan reserves to address the dire economic crisis facing Afghanistan.

To move forward, U.S. President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday that will block property of the Afghan central bank held in the United States by U.S. financial institutions, requiring the transfer of the funds into a consolidated account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the sources said.

The U.S. government will work to ensure access to $3.5 billion of those assets for “the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future,” said one of the sources, without providing details.

Decisions about the remaining funds need to be made by federal courts since some of the 9/11 families have writs of execution against the frozen assets, the sources said, adding that the plaintiffs would have a full opportunity to have their claims heard in court.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.