The US and the Taliban are negotiating the release of $3.5 billion of $9.5 billion in Afghanistan’s reserves that were frozen when the Taliban retook control of the country, Reuters reported.
Three unnamed sources told Reuters that officials had exchanged proposals for how the release could be done.
But two sources said there are still big issues standing in the way of a deal, including the Taliban’s wanting to keep top figures in the Afghan central bank in their roles despite one of them being under US sanctions.
The US froze Afghanistan’s $9.5 billion reserves — some of which are held in New York City — after Biden surrendered to the 7th-century thugs, leaving Americans behind, in August 2021.
The Taliban have repeatedly asked for it back, citing the country’s economic crisis after the takeover.
Didn’t we leave behind billions of dollars of equipment and billion-dollar air bases? What about all the aid we’ve given them despite their abuse of women and those Afghans who helped us. We gave exorbitant amounts of aid, roughly 4.6 billion, to the country over 20 years. In January 2022, the US announced a gift of $308 million in ‘humanitarian’ aid to Afghanistan. That doesn’t include military aid and loss of life. Almost 2500 soldiers died in Afghanistan. Thirteen soldiers and 700 Afghans were slaughtered during the airlift.
BIDEN’S CALLING IT HUMANITARIAN AID
Current negotiations are on $3.5 billion of that amount, Reuters reported. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in February to say that amount could be sent to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid, Insider reports.
While the Taliban do not reject the concept of a trust fund, they oppose a U.S. proposal for third-party control of the fund that would hold and disburse returned reserves, said a Taliban government source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The United States has been in talks with Switzerland and other parties on the creation of a mechanism that would include the trust fund, disbursements from which would be decided with the help of an international board, according to a U.S. source who also declined to be named to discuss the matter, Reuters.