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IEA opposes establishment of new fund to handle frozen assets

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IEA opposes establishment of new fund to handle frozen assets
(Last Updated On: September 15, 2022)Afghanistan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), has slammed Washington’s decision to create a new international financing mechanism to distribute $3.5 billion worth of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, claiming the move was “unacceptable”.

On Wednesday, the US State Department announced that Washington, in coordination with international partners including the Government of Switzerland and Afghan economic experts, has established the Afghan Fund, which will see the money transferred to a Swiss bank.

On Thursday, DAB issued a statement asking for the decision to be reconsidered.

“Da Afghanistan Bank has measured any decision regarding the allocation, use or transfer of these reserves to achieve unrelated goals as unacceptable and requested [the US] to be reconsider it,” the statement said.

“Da Afghanistan Bank’s foreign exchange reserves are the property of the Afghan people and have been used for many years in the light of the law to maintain monetary stability, strengthen the financial system and facilitate trade with the world.

In a press briefing on Wednesday night, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “Today, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury, in coordination with international partners including the Government of Switzerland and Afghan economic experts, announced the establishment of a fund to benefit the people of Afghanistan.”

“This fund will protect and preserve the Afghan central bank reserves, while making targeted disbursements to help stabilize Afghanistan’s economy and, ultimately, support its people and work to alleviate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

He stated the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is “not a part of this financing mechanism and resources disbursed will be for the benefit of the Afghan people, with clear safeguards and auditing in place to protect against diversion or misuse.”

He said however that the Afghan Fund is “explicitly not intended to make humanitarian disbursements. The Afghan Fund itself is to facilitate macroeconomic stability inside Afghanistan.”

“This is not what that fund is for. This fund is to provide macroeconomic stability in Afghanistan that will enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance from the United States and other donors.”

Former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, also disagreed with the decision and said any move to transfer the money to a third country was unacceptable and the assets should remain the “national treasure of the people” of Afghanistan.

Some experts however believe that by transferring the money to a fund of this nature is opening the way for wastage and the Afghan people will ultimately pay the price.

“From my point of view, the decision of the US government is very cruel to the Afghan national bank and Afghans should not be treated this way,” said Taj Mohammad Talash, an economic analyst.

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