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US Treasury Freezes Billions In Afghan Reserves, Depriving Taliban Of Cash

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US Treasury Freezes Billions In Afghan Reserves, Depriving Taliban Of Cash

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Originally published on ZeroHedge.

After handing the Taliban US-supplied military hardware on a silver platter thanks to the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the Biden administration scrambled to deprive the terrorist organization of funding – freezing Afghan government reserves held in US bank accounts, and blocking the Taliban from accessing billions of dollars held in US institutions, according to the Washington Post, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The decision was made by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and officials in Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the people said. The State Department was also involved in discussions this weekend, with officials in the White House monitoring the developments. An administration official said in a statement, “Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.” The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss government policy not yet made public.

As of April, the Afghan central bank held $9.4 billion reserve assets according to the International Monetary Fund – roughly one third of the country’s annual economic output. The vast majority are held outside of the country, according to the Post, billions of which are in the United States.

According to the report, the freeze took effect on Sunday. As the situation was rapidly deteriorating over the weekend, Afghani Central Bank governor Ajmal Ahmady tweeted that they were told they wouldn’t receive any more dollar shipments.

US Treasury Freezes Billions In Afghan Reserves, Depriving Taliban Of Cash

Click to see full-size image

As the Post notes, Afghanistan is already one of the poorest countries in the world, and has been highly dependent on US assistance. What’s more, the Biden administration will also likely face difficult decisions over how to manage existing sanctions on the Taliban – while dealing with trying to deliver humanitarian aid to a population in dire need.

According to Adam M. Smith, who served on the National Security Council and as senior adviser to the director of the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control during the Obama administration, the Biden administration didn’t need any new authority to freeze the reserves because the Taliban is already sanctioned under an executive order approved following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Meanwhile, the US sends roughly $3 billion per year in support for the Afghan military, which can only be sent if the Secretary of Defense “certifies to Congress that the Afghan forces are controlled by a civilian, representative government that is committed to protecting human rights and women’s right.”

This funding is expected to stop flowing as well, along with smaller pots of money, such as $20 million for recruiting women to the Afghan National Security Forces. About 80 percent of Afghanistan’s budget is funded by the U.S. and other international donors, John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told Reuters this spring. A spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget declined to comment on the status of Congressionally-approved funding for Afghanistan.

“Of course, it’s dangerous,” said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, a consulting firm, about restrictions on the Afghan economy, including the freezing of funds held in the U.S. “You’ll see a lot more refugees on the back of this, a lot more radicalism on the back of this. But, on the other hand, Afghanistan will not be able to control this country for a very long period of time. I can’t see us spending money on the Taliban.” -WaPo

According to the UN Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, half of the country’s total population has required humanitarian assistance this year, nearly double that from 2020, and a six-fold increase from four years ago.

US Treasury Freezes Billions In Afghan Reserves, Depriving Taliban Of Cash

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Maybe China will kick in a few billion bucks to their new besties?

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Alberto Bohon.

Russia and China support the Taliban, but the Taliban can make a deal with China on political, economic and military matters, and perhaps the Taliban can allow China to install military bases in Afghanistan, as Russia did in Syria, the Chinese presence in the region may favor its one belt & one road geopolitics. because in my opinion, the US will no longer intervene directly in Afghanistan on the military issue, but perhaps can intervene indirectly on the political issue with the so-called “new resistance” of the new north alliance as occurred in the 1980s, and therefore another civil war it had emerged in Afghanistan. As in Syria’s civil war, the US supported and financed the HTS rebel group from 2012-2017.

Kail

Alliance with the powerful is never to be trusted. It is true to both China and US. They are too powerful, that if you easily give something without more leverage, your country would easily danced on the palm of their hand.

Arch Bungle

The Taliban spokesman has said that Afghanistan will not be part of any military bloc, that he recognises no “allies” but that Afghanistan will work with the entire world to improve the lot of the Afghan people.

I suspect the Mujaheddine will play a neutral role in military terms in the region and will treat the Chinese and Russians in the same way they treat every other power.

Ivanus59

Keeping money is US or UK is the trademark of enslaved countries. It basically means if the country decides to be independent they can kiss those funds goodbye.

Ma Laoshi

Well yeah, of course you need to take American hostages. Time to show what you’re made of Talibs. And remember, this is not how Gadhafi and Uncle Saddam are usually talked about in the West, but ultimately both of them were too soft for the real world when it came to dealing with the Dark Throne.

Jim Allen

Who told you the ‘Mericans are hostages ?
With what’s happening in US currently, with this not vaccine, and several other existential threat’s, in my estimation it’s safer for a US citizen to be in Afghanistan today, than it is here at home. Taliban have committed themselves to agreement’s made between themselves, and China’s, and Russia’s Government’s to conduct themselves in a particular manner. In exchange for things it desperately need’s to Govern, and advance the country as US occupation never did. Taliban don’t look stupid to me, however else they appear. China, and Russia can, and have helped countries to answer problems of this nature, further their word is good, unlike that of their Western partners.

Ma Laoshi

Then again, you can just export $10bn worth of heroin into American cities to make up for the loss; easy and fun.

Arch Bungle

The Taliban should just shut down all access to the Airport until the cash is returned in gold bars.

Donald Moore

Their the US Government goes, freeze another countries assets to pay for all the worthless paper money they print up!

Klaus Meier

Die Taliban leben vom Opium Handel mit der CIA in Größe von 7000 t. Das wird jetzt mit dem sanktionierten Beträgen verrechnet und gleicht sich aus. Also alles wie vorher. Kein Problem für Taliban. Die Geldboten der US Staatsterroristen fliegen trotzdem ein….

Dave

Hallo Herr Meier, sehr interessant. Das Opium spielt sicherlich eine wichtige Rolle. Haben Sie dazu Literatur, Links?
D.h. das Einfrieren von Vermögen ist im W. Augenwischerei.

Dave

Klaus has a point. Afghanistan produces 90+% of the world’s opium. It is well known, that the US, namely the CIA is heavily invested in that trade. My guess is, that the ‘freezing’ of assets is at best a way to ensure to continued flow of Opium into the US. At some point, the CIA will go to the Taliban begging them to accept their ‘currency’. But again, if they go along with a different currency, it would be a major change.

Dave

This is at once a great opportunity. After the popular Afghani forces (i.e. the T) have ousted the US terror-regime, they will perhaps join China and Iran in using a currency other than the dollar. Even based on different principles. That wd indeed be major. The dollar is largely an imaginary currency. Breaking its dominance will bode profound change.

Saminal

Here we go again —
We refused to give Vietnam $3Billion for reconstruction and Vietnam refused to return 2,700 POWs.
We want to get 40,000 American civilians out of Afghanistan so our MONEY GRUBBERS grab the Taliban’s money and GOOD LUCK Civilians.
MONEY FIRST.

YankeeGoHome

Usual US Thieves. they did it to Iran and Now Taliban. Maybe a few hostages can help release those funds

Christian J. Chuba

And the best part about it is that the Taliban has absolutely NO leverage over the U.S. The Taliban has absolutely nothing that Biden wants or needs, they could kill people in the streets, regardless of nationality and it wouldn’t matter a bit … or wait, never mind.

Arch Bungle

Actually, they have incredible leverage.

Afghanistan is the center of Mackinder’s world island.

The Taliban can choose to make all China and Russia commercial integration dreams come true and exclude America completely… Or they can offer the US a balancing role and a chance to make profitable amends.

They hold all the cards.

Ragheadthefiendlyterrorist

Stealing other people’s money is the most Amerikastani of Amerikastani things.

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