International economists urge US to release Afghanistan frozen assets
A group of prominent international economists have called on the administration of US President Joe Biden to release Afghanistan's Central Bank assets amid unfolding economic and humanitarian catastrophes in the country.
More than 70 economists and experts, many based in the United States, but also in Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday, urging him to return the $7 billion in Afghan Central Bank assets to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB).
The US has seized the sum out of more than $9 billion in frozen Afghan assets since the Taliban came to power almost one year ago.
"We are deeply concerned by the compounding economic and humanitarian catastrophes unfolding in Afghanistan, and, in particular, by the role of US policy in driving them," wrote the signatories.
"Without access to its foreign reserves, the central bank of Afghanistan cannot carry out its normal, essential functions," they wrote.
"Without a functioning central bank, the economy of Afghanistan has, predictably, collapsed," they added.
The economists argued Washington could not justify holding onto the reserves, frozen in American banks.
They said that the plunge in economic activity in Afghanistan and the sharp cuts to foreign aid by previous supporters of the country after the US military withdrawal had sent the Afghan economy into a tailspin.