WHILE the US steals billions of dollars from a country and a people in dire need of aid, Qatar and the EU have offered to give some help to the struggling country of Afghanistan.

Afghan delegates, led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with diplomats from 16 European countries in Doha this week when, according to a statement released by the Taliban, “Participants pledged to make all possible efforts for the overall well-being of the Afghan people”.

EU special Representative for Afghanistan, Thomas Niklasson, who also attended the talks, said the bloc would deliver 500 million euros in assistance through the UN and humanitarian organisations.

In a separate meeting, co-chaired by Amir Khan Muttaqi and Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister, Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater, and in which representatives from several Qatari agencies participated, there was discussion of how best support to Afghanistan in the areas of development and economic empowerment of people, as well as technical and material support, could be provided.

Officials of the Qatar Charity and the Qatar Red Crescent Society were also in attendance, according to the state-run news agency. Afghanistan’s Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani and representatives of the Ministry of Economy and the central bank also participated in the meeting.

Also discussed were ways of developing cooperation in the field of education, especially in improving the qualifications of teachers and providing opportunities for Afghan students of both genders.

But the money needed?

This is welcome news to anyone who has feared for the rights of Afghan citizens under the Taliban, but how much easier would it be had the Taliban government not had its money first frozen, and then stolen?

This theft by the White House has gone largely unreported in the media, as the US and UK have had us all focused on the so-called impending invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Call me cynical, but it is all rather convenient for the US.

President Biden issued an executive order two weeks ago which would split the $7.1billion belonging to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) almost evenly between humanitarian assistance to the struggling country and funds to cover judgements from lawsuits that 9/11 victims and their families had filed against the Taliban in US courts.

Not justice

The US proposal to use half of the money as compensation to the victims of the 9/11 attacks has been criticised, but certainly not globally, as it should be. We all know Afghanistan had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, but heaven forbid the US should alienate Saudi Arabia, the country from which fifteen of the hijackers hailed, and which just happens to purchase billions of dollars worth of weapons from the US.

What Biden is proposing is not justice for 9/11 families, it is theft of public funds from an impoverished nation already on the brink of famine and starvation brought on by the United States’ disastrous withdrawal.

Bilal Askaryar, Afghan-American activist

With skyrocketing inflation and state institutions in disarray, the Afghan economy, which has depended on foreign aid, is falling apart, with the UN World Food Programme warning 23 million people are facing “severe hunger” in the country. Even with just half of their own money returned to the country in crisis, it will still be months before the money is released for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, according to a senior White House administration official.

“It’s absolutely egregious,” Halema Wali, cofounder of Afghans for a Better Tomorrow, a US-based advocacy group, said of Biden’s move. “This is equivalent to essentially saying the central bank of Afghanistan can’t function, but we’re going to set aside some money for a little bit of food for a starving population. I think, overall, it’s very short-sighted.”

It is not only short-sighted. It is immoral, unconscionable, and should be illegal.

One thought on “USA helps itself – this time to Afghanistan’s money”
  1. The irony of course being that the people of Afghanistan are also victims of the “war on terror” triggered by the attack on 9/11 which was mainly carried out by citizens of Saudi Arabia.

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