Taliban calls on Congress to release Afghanistan assets

The Taliban is asking Congress to ease sanctions and release Afghanistan’s assets amid economic strife in the country. 

Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday posted a letter online saying, “American sanctions have not only played havoc with trade and business, but also with humanitarian assistance.”

“Currently the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,” the letter to U.S. lawmakers said.

“Freezing of assets and economic sanctions can harm systems of health, education and other civil services,” it added.

The letter comes as the World Food Program has warned that 8.7 million people in Afghanistan “face emergency-level food insecurity.” The agency also noted that the crisis has only grown “more complex and severe” since the Taliban took control of Kabul in August.

Earlier this month, the Taliban said it would ban the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan. Typically, areas near the country’s border would trade with the currencies of neighboring nations like Pakistan, and U.S. dollars were used widely in Afghan markets.

“The economic situation and national interests in the country require that all Afghans use Afghan currency in their every trade,” the Taliban said at the time.

Billions of dollars worth of assets from the country that are stored overseas with the Federal Reserve as well as with central banks in Europe have been frozen since the Taliban’s takeover. As Afghanistan grapples with financial strain and other troubles, the Taliban has been working to gain access to the money.


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