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US envoy rejects Taliban’s appeal to release Afghan frozen assets

US envoy Thomas West reacts to Taliban letter to US Congress. Source: TOLO News.

WASHINGTON: The United States has rejected an appeal by the Taliban to release assets frozen after their takeover in Afghanistan after the Islamic Emirate wrote a letter to the US Congress.

In a series of tweets, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said the new government in Kabul must earn legitimacy first. He said legitimacy and support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, respect the rights of minorities and women, and ensure equal access to education and employment to all.

He said the Taliban’s letter to Congress earlier this week misconstrued the facts regarding Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis. “Afghanistan was unfortunately already suffering a terrible humanitarian crisis before mid-August, made worse by war, years of drought, & the pandemic,” he said.

“US officials made clear to the Taliban for years that if they pursued a military takeover rather than a negotiated settlement with fellow Afghans then critical non-humanitarian aid provided by the international community – in an economy enormously dependent on aid, including for basic services – would all but cease. That is what occurred.”

West said the United States will continue “clear-eyed, candid diplomacy” with the Taliban. “Legitimacy & support must be earned by actions to address terrorism, establish an inclusive government, & respect the rights of minorities, women & girls – including equal access to education & employment.”

He said the US will continue to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid and has provided $474 million this yea along with are making every effort to help the UN scale up humnaitarian assistance to meet needs this winter.

Afghanistan has called on the United States to release its frozen assets. In a letter to the US Congress, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said currently financial security is the main challenge for Afghan people and the root cause of this is freezing of our assets by USA. He wrote that freezing assets cannot resolve problems rather will exacerbate them as the Afghan people will become a cause of mass migration in the region.

“Currently, the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,” the Islamic Emirate letter read. 

Stating that Afghanistan wants good relations with all countries, including the United States, Amir Khan Mutaqi urged Washington to take responsible steps towards addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghan Deputy Health Minister of Afghan interim regime, Abdul Bari Omar has accused the international community of failing to keep its promises of aid. Addressing a press conference in Kabul, he said Afghanistan’s food crisis is a legacy of the previous government.

He cited World Food Programme figures showing 3.2 million Afghan children under the age of five will be acutely malnourished by the end of the year. The UN has warned that around 22 million Afghans or half the country will face an “acute” food shortage in the winter months.

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