Washington, D.C., Aug. 15, 2022 — In response to reports that the U.S. will not consider releasing any of Afghanistan’s frozen foreign reserves in the near-term, Paul Carroll, Director of the Charity and Security Network, released the following statement:
“In refusing to release any of Afghanistan’s frozen foreign reserves in the near-term, the Biden administration is effectively sentencing millions of Afghans to hunger and potentially death as the country continues to grapple with one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet.
“The administration cannot credibly claim that it supports the Afghan people while it is actively preventing those people from accessing their own money that they desperately need in order to feed themselves. Aid groups have repeatedly said that they cannot meet Afghanistan’s needs while the country’s economy is in free fall. Afghanistan’s economy cannot function without a functional central bank, and the Central Bank of Afghanistan cannot function without these reserves. By treating these funds as a bargaining chip with the Taliban, the administration is gambling with the lives of Afghans and with the future of Afghanistan itself.
“Women, teachers, students, human rights and democracy advocates—the very people the administration claims to support—are the ones who will suffer the most as a result of this policy. Civil society—critical to any healthy society and a necessary check on those in power—cannot function when people cannot afford to buy food.”
- The administration had been negotiating with the Taliban around options for releasing the frozen funds, but has ended those negotiations, citing the presence of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
- The administration is ignoring the advice of over 70 economists who wrote a letter last week urging the release of these frozen reserves.
- Aid groups have repeatedly called for the release of these funds, arguing that they cannot meet the needs of Afghan people without them.
- There have been numerous proposals for transferring these funds to the Central Bank of Afghanistan while ensuring that the funds are used as intended through staged releases and monitoring mechanisms.
- Over 23 million Afghans are facing acute hunger, and over 8.7 million are facing emergency levels of hunger.
The Charity & Security Network is a resource and advocacy center working to promote and protect the ability of nonprofit organizations to carry out peacebuilding, humanitarian, and human rights missions and to advance national security frameworks that support rather than impede this work. Learn more about the Charity & Security Network’s work at www.CharityAndSecurity.org, and follow us on Twitter: @CharitySecurity.