The Taliban has called on members of the United States Congress to act to release Afghan assets frozen after their August takeover of the country.
In an open letter on Wednesday, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the biggest challenge facing Afghanistan was financial insecurity, “and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government”.
“I request … so that doors for future relations are opened, assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank are unfrozen and sanctions on our banks are lifted,” he wrote.
Washington has seized nearly $9.5bn in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank since the Taliban took power. In October, Deputy United States Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told a US Senate committee he saw no situation where the Taliban would be allowed to access the Afghan central bank reserves
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed – with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports.