US Urges Taliban To “Earn Legitimacy” For Release Of $9BN In Frozen Afghan Funds
Twenty years of war and occupation, thousands of US troop and countless Afghan civilian deaths, and trillions of dollars later, Washington is now essentially begging the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan to “earn” legitimacy and respect in the eyes of international powers.
The Taliban since its takeover of the country last August amid the chaotic US troop pullout has been demanding the US release billions in frozen Afghan funds held abroad. On Friday the new Biden-picked US special envoy for Afghanistan Thomas West called on the hardline Islamist organization to reform itself, and then the US would mull unfreezing the assets.
“Legitimacy and support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, and respect the rights of minorities, women & girls — including equal access to education & employment,” West said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Currently the US has frozen at least $9 billion in funds – which has angered the Taliban, also at a moment the group is pressing the United Nations to take a seat at the UN in New York from the former national government.
“Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, & the pandemic,” West said further in his statement, explaining that Washington had stuck by its prior vow to cut off foreign aid to the country in the case of a Taliban takeover.
“US officials made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community — in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including for basic services — would all but cease. That is what occurred,” he said. A limited amount of humanitarian aid has been approved by the Biden administration, however…
5/5 The U.S. will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid. We’ve provided $474 million this year, applaud the robust efforts of Allies & partners in this space, & are making every effort to help the UN & humanitarian actors scale up to meet needs this winter.
— U.S. Special Representative Thomas West (@US4AfghanPeace) November 19, 2021
Ironically, the US sanctions on Kabul and blockage of foreign aid is likely mostly hurting the civilian population as the war-time economy continues to spiral, also amid the expectation that Western funds will continue being blocked for at least many more months to come.
But despite prior attempts of the Taliban to present itself with a new “moderate” image, its hardline religious police have returned to the streets, and ghastly practices such as hanging executed bodies in public have returned, including cutting off hands for criminal offenses.
Sat, 11/20/2021 – 19:00