US’s ambush at Afghan assets

The United States has frozen Afghan central bank reserves in US accounts and deprived the Taliban of billions of dollars during early days of their rule. According to reports, the Biden administration decided to reciprocate the Taliban offensive that swept up cities and toppled the US-backed Ghani government through seizer of Capital Kabul on August 15. The world fully understands the motive of the US move as the Taliban unprecedented and surprising takeover of the country had attracted great embarrassment for American military and Political leadership because all their assessments and intelligence forecasts proved to be totally untrue. President Biden blamed former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Security Forces for the failure in Afghanistan. Certainly, it is a disgrace for the Biden administration that besides pouring billions of dollars, training of personnel, and provision of latest equipment to the Afghan military, it proved to be a wall of sand against its rival. According to analysts, it was the biggest failure of the US government that it could not persuade President Ghani to back the US commitment with Taliban in respect of Doha agreement rather Ghani and his team adopted a separate discourse and gradually parted their ways from US policy on Afghanistan. The unrealistic and self-centered approach of both President Ashraf Ghani and President Biden led them to complete failure, and both leaders took shelter of public and national interests instead of accepting failure of their policies in Afghanistan.

As said, the Taliban movement was sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) after terrorist attacks of 9/11 and that provision was used by the Biden administration to freeze Afghan assets in the US accounts. According to reports, the gross reserves of about $ 9.5 billion of Afghanistan Central Bank was held in different US financial institutions including New York Federal Reserve Bank in the shape of dollars, gold, and US treasuries. According to the governor of Afghanistan Central Bank, Ajmal Ahmady all Afghan assets including dollars, gold and US treasuries deposited in the international accounts had been frozen due to US sanctions against Taliban. Afghanistan is a poor country and witnessed huge destruction of its industrial infrastructure, agriculture, and government institutions due to war during the last four decades, therefore the Afghan government depends on foreign aid and loans to run the affairs of the country. According to the World bank, the 75 percent volume of Afghan annual budget comes from foreign aid and loans while national resource generation is only 25 percent of the economy. Therefore, the assets freezing by the United States would be a serious setback for the newly formed Taliban government in managing the already deteriorated economy of the country.

Presently, the only way forward for the Taliban movement is to continue the current momentum of goodwill and national reconciliation. A mutually agreed political government which represents all factions of Afghan society will only be acceptable to the world including Pakistan and such a government will pave the future path of the country. However, a Taliban led government would remain a target of US’s sanctions in future therefore the current Taliban regime in Afghanistan must work to restore peace and economic activity in the country.

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