Wed 17 November 2021:
The Taliban has called on US Congress members to release Afghan assets frozen after their takeover of the country, warning economic turmoil at home could lead to trouble abroad.
In an open letter on Wednesday, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the biggest challenge facing Afghanistan was financial insecurity, “and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government”.
He warned the economic situation could spark a mass exodus.
Muttaqi noted that 2021 was the centenary of Washington recognising Afghanistan’s sovereignty.
“Akin to other world countries, our bilateral relations have also experienced ups and downs,” he added.
“Practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency,” Muttaqi wrote.
“No threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation.”
“If the current situation prevails, the Afghan government and people will face problems and will become a cause for mass migration in the region and world which will consequently create further humanitarian and economic issues,” he said.
Muttaqi said the United States risked further damaging its reputation in the country “and this will serve as the worst memory ingrained in Afghans at the hands of America”.
“We hope that the members of the American Congress will think thoroughly in this regard,” he added.
Washington has seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. The aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed, with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports.
Concerned nations have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid but are reluctant to commit funds unless the Taliban agree to a more inclusive government and to guarantee the rights of women and minorities.
From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist, brutally violating human rights in the name of Islamic law, sparking fears of a return of their abuses.
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