Afghan protesters have gathered outside of Kabul's Eid Gah mosque to protest an executive order from President Joe Biden that could see $3.5 billion of frozen Afghan assets given to those impacted by the 9/11 attacks.
The order, which was signed yesterday, February 11, could reportedly split $7 billion of frozen funds in half, with one half kept in a humanitarian fund 'for the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future', and the other half kept for seizure by victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The White House issued a statement to say that money kept in the humanitarian fund was 'designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan, while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and malicious actors'.
People in Afghanistan have since protested the decision, questioning why Afghan funds should be held and managed in the US.
Afghanistan is currently in the midst of economic turmoil, with the arrival of the Taliban in mid-August 2021 seeing the end of a substantial amount of international funds coming into the region.
In addition to this, 24 million people in Afghanistan — about 60% of the population — are said to be going hungry.
This has seen the creation of dire living situations, prompting questions over why money for the Afghan people should be kept and managed in US-controlled funds.
Torek Farhadi, a financial adviser to Afghanistan's former US-backed government, said the funds were needed in Afghanistan 'to back up the country's currency, help in monetary policy and manage the country's balance of payment'.
Farhadi added, 'These reserves belong to the people of Afghanistan, not the Taliban [...] Biden's decision is one-sided and does not match with international law.'
The advisor then questioned the US's jurisdiction, saying, 'No other country on Earth makes such confiscation decisions about another country's reserves.'
Abdul Rahman, the organiser of the demonstration in Kabul, also spoke about the US's involvement with Afghan funds.
He said, 'This money belongs to the people of Afghanistan, not to the United States. This is the right of Afghans.'
Many questioned why half of the assets were being given to victims of the 9/11 attacks, pointing out that the plane hijackers involved were Saudi nationals, not Afghans.
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