Taliban won't have access to Afghan Central Bank reserves: US

By Hamza Ameer

Islamabad, Oct 21 (IANS): Despite the US agreeing to help Afghanistan in terms of aid supplies, it has made it clear that the Taliban government will not be granted access to the Afghan Central Bank reserves.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, in response to the Taliban demand to lift a block on more than $9 billion of Afghan Central Bank reserves, held outside the country, stated that he saw "no situation where the Taliban, who regained power in Afghanistan in August, would be allowed access to the Central Bank reserves".

"We believe that its essential that we maintain our sanctions against the Taliban but at the same time find ways for legitimate humanitarian assistance to get to the Afghan people. That's exactly what we're doing," Adeyemo told the Senate Banking committee.

Afghanistan is sinking into economic and humanitarian crisis, forcing Washington and other western countries to weigh and contemplate on difficult choices of engaging with the Taliban without allowing them legitimacy and recognition.

"Our goal is to make sure that we are implementing our sanctions regime against the Taliban and the Haqqani network, but at the same time allowing for the permissible flow of humanitarian assistance into the country," Adeyemo said.

He highlighted that the Treasury Department was making all efforts towards steps it would take within its sanctions regime to assure humanitarian groups that it was ready to facilitate aid to the Afghan people.

He also insisted that for humanitarian level facilitation to happen, the Taliban have to allow it to happen within the country.

Recently, the US Treasury also issued two general licenses with an aim to ensure flow of aid to Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the Taliban seek global recognition and release of blocked foreign aid and lifting of the block on Afghan Central Bank reserves, which are largely held by the US.

Afghanistan has been calling on regional and western powers to come to its rescue before the economic and humanitarian crisis turn chaotic and start showing spillover effect on other countries.



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