Taliban Pleads With The Us To Release $10Billion Of Frozen Funds


The Taliban have pleaded with the US and the West to show ‘mercy and compassion’ by releasing $10billion in funds frozen when the group seized Afghanistan.

Speaking in a rare interview, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the funds would help millions of the country’s citizens that are in desperate need.

He also claimed Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers are committed in principle to education and jobs for girls and women, a marked departure from their previous time in power which saw a history of oppression and human rights abuses.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Muttaqi said the new government wants good relations with all countries and has no issue with the United States.

He urged Washington and other nations to release the funds that were frozen when the Taliban took power on August 15, following a rapid military sweep across Afghanistan and the sudden, secret flight of US-backed President Ashraf Ghani.

But despite insisting the Taliban have changed for the better, Muttaqi’s comments hint at a dire situation in Afghanistan – already one of the poorest countries in the world per capita before the group took control of the country.

‘Sanctions against Afghanistan would … not have any benefit,’ Muttaqi said Sunday, speaking in his native Pashto during the interview in the sprawling pale brick Foreign Ministry building in the heart of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Making Afghanistan unstable or having a weak Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone,’ said Muttaqi, whose aides include employees of the previous government as well as those recruited from the ranks of the Taliban.

Muttaqi’s comments are not the first time he has made a plea for the funds – from Afghanistan’s Central Bank – to be released.

However, in October, Deputy United States Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told a US Senate Committee that he saw no situation in which the Taliban would be allowed to access the reserves.

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Concerned nations have pledged aid to the country, which made up a large part of its economy before the Taliban took over, but many are reluctant to send funds unless the Taliban agrees to a more inclusive society.

Meanwhile, reports from Afghanistan have told harrowing stories, such as parents being forced to sell their children to survive, and droughts forcing people from their homes.

The UN has warned that more than half of Afghanistan’s population faces starvation this winter, a problem compounded by the fact that many aid agencies fled the country as the government collapsed and international aid dried up.

International charity Save the Children has called on governments to make urgent exemptions to existing counter-terror and sanctions policies, to allow for the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid.

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Since August, representatives of the group have worked to present a new image for the Taliban, claiming to have changed since its last brutal rule that ended in 2001. Its efforts have been met with scepticism from the international community.

Muttaqi acknowledged the world’s outrage at the Taliban-imposed limitations on girls’ education and on women in the work force.

In many parts of Afghanistan, female high school students between the grades of seven and 12 have not been permitted to go to school since the Taliban took over, and many female civil servants have been told to stay home.

Taliban officials have said they need time to create gender-segregated arrangements in schools and work places that meet their severe interpretation of Islam.

When they first ruled from 1996-2001, the Taliban shocked the world by barring girls and women from schools and jobs, banning most entertainment and sports and occasionally carrying out executions in front of large crowds in sports stadiums.

But Muttaqi said the Taliban have changed since those times.

‘We have have made progress in administration and in politics … in interaction with the nation and the world. With each passing day we will gain m… (Read more)

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