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Tue Jun 28, 2022, 10:55 AM

Biden aides seek to unlock Afghan reserves without enriching Taliban

Source: Washington Post

Senior Biden administration officials are working with Taliban leadership on a mechanism to allow Afghanistan’s government to use its central bank reserves to deal with a severe hunger crisis without giving the former militant group free rein, aiming to avert a humanitarian disaster that aid groups estimate could harm millions, according to three people briefed on the matter. Afghanistan faces catastrophe partly because the Biden administration froze billions of dollars in the country’s reserves after the collapse of the U.S.-backed government last August.

Coupled with sanctions on its banking sector, the decision plunged Afghanistan into financial calamity, depriving it of the money needed to buy food and other imports on which the country is heavily dependent. The United Nations Refugee Agency said this January that Afghanistan “is descending into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” with 24 million people — or more than half the population — in need of emergency assistance, a 30 percent increase from last year. Facing that emergency, as well as a devastating earthquake that struck the eastern part of the country this month, Biden aides have begun talks to restore to the Afghan government at least partial use of the frozen funds that are kept in U.S. institutions.

In negotiations with Taliban officials, they have tried to set up a system through which career central bankers and bureaucrats could manage the assets to stabilize the Afghan economy — while simultaneously erecting safeguards that would ensure the funds are not siphoned off for misuse by the Taliban, the people familiar with the matter said. One option discussed by those close to the talks involves having a third party trust fund administer the money, two people familiar with the matter said, although the exact structure of such an arrangement was not clear. Senior administration officials have expressed optimism about the progress on talks, but cautioned that several obstacles to a deal remain. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic negotiations.

“It would be accurate to say negotiations are underway,” said Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a senior member Afghanistan’s central bank board since 2002. “We are in the process of trying to come up with a mechanism that will allow the transfer of reserves to the central bank of Afghanistan.”Mehrabi declined to comment on the details of the negotiations. He said talks are ongoing between the U.S. and the Taliban, but stressed that the “mechanism has not been finalized by all parties involved.” Mehrabi said food costs have skyrocketed by 18 percent in the past several months. Basic household goods rose in cost by 35 percent during the first few months of the year; in May, inflation for household goods hit 42 percent, Mehrabi said.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2022/06/28/taliban-afghanistan-white-house-money/

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Reply Biden aides seek to unlock Afghan reserves without enriching Taliban (Original post)
BumRushDaShow Jun 28 OP
JI7 Jun 28 #1

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Jun 28, 2022, 11:04 AM

1. No, it's the Taliban's own incompetence and religious extremism

which is the reason for the disaster. Not letting women work .

West offered to fund teachers and schools to allow girls to go to school but they refused.

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