A number of Afghan men and women staged protests demanding the release of the frozen assets that have led to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the war-torn nation.
In Kabul on Monday, a group of Afghan women held a gathering near the UN office and called for the return of the assets to Afghanistan, reports TOLO News.
“This money is Afghans’ money, not money to pay as compensation by (US President) Joe Biden. The money should be surrendered to Afghanistan,” said Arzo, a protestor.
“Our people are struggling with poverty and this money can change the situation inside Afghanistan,” said Shogofa Nejta, another protestor.
Also on Monday, several teachers at the Shaikh Zayed University in Khost province launched a demonstration against Biden’s decision to split the frozen assets, calling it unfair.
“This is a cruelty, they do not have the right to hold Afghanistan’s money as compensation,” said Rabani Wahdat, a teacher.
Residents of Bamyan province also took to the streets to urge the release of the assets belonging to the Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) held in the US and other countries.
The protests come in the wake of Biden signing an Executive Order on February 11, under which some of the frozen assets will be distributed as assistance to Afghanistan and to victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
According to the White House, while “the administration will seek to facilitate access to $3.5 billion of those assets for the benefit of the Afghan people”, “more than $3.5 billion in DAB assets would remain in the US and are subject to ongoing litigation by American victims of terrorism”.
When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan had over $9 billion in reserves held in the name of DAB outside of the country.
This included $7 billion in reserves held in the US, with the rest of the reserves largely being in Germany, the UAE, Switzerland, and a couple of other states.
Economic experts believe that Afghan currency will dramatically lose value if the frozen assets are spent for any purpose and not returned to Afghanistan, TOLO News reported.
“These assets are to keep Afghanis stable, therefore, they should not be spent in any other way,” said an analyst.