Ex-Afghan President: Biden Order on Frozen Funds an Atrocity

By KATHY GANNON, Related Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s former president on Sunday known as a White Home order to unfreeze $3.5 billion in Afghan belongings held within the U.S. for households of 9/11 victims an atrocity towards the Afghan folks.

Former President Hamid Karzai at a packed information convention sought the assistance of Individuals, significantly the households of the 1000’s killed within the 9/11 terrorist assaults, to press President Joe Biden to rescind final week’s order. He known as it “unjust and unfair,” saying Afghans have additionally been victims of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden was delivered to Afghanistan by Afghan warlords after being expelled from Sudan in 1996. Those self same warlords would later ally with the U.S.-led coalition to oust the Taliban in 2001. Nevertheless, it was Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar who refused handy over bin Laden to the U.S. after the devastating 9/11 assaults that killed 1000’s.

“The folks of Afghanistan share the ache of the American folks, share the ache of the households and family members of those that died, who misplaced their lives within the tragedy of September 11,” mentioned Karzai. “We commiserate with them (however) Afghan individuals are as a lot victims as these households who misplaced their lives. … Withholding cash or seizing cash from the folks of Afghanistan of their title is unjust and unfair and an atrocity towards Afghan folks.”

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President Biden’s order signed final Friday freed $7 billion in Afghan belongings at present held in the US, to be divided between 9/11 victims and humanitarian support to Afghans.

Sept. 11 victims and their households have authorized claims towards the Taliban and the $7 billion within the U.S. banking system. The $3.5 billion was put aside for a U.S. courtroom to resolve whether or not it may be used to settle claims by households of 9/11 victims. U.S. courts would additionally need to log out earlier than the discharge of humanitarian help cash.

We “ask the U.S. courts to do the other, to return the Afghan a refund to the Afghan folks,” mentioned Karzai. “This cash doesn’t belong to any authorities ,,, this cash belongs to the folks of Afghanistan.”

In the meantime, Biden’s order requires the $3.5 billion allotted to humanitarian support to be put right into a belief and be used to help Afghans, bypassing their Taliban rulers.

However Karzai demanded all $7 billion be returned to Afghanistan’s central financial institution to additional its financial coverage. He argued towards giving Afghan reserves to worldwide support organizations to offer humanitarian support.

“You give us our personal cash in order that it may be spent for these foreigners who come right here, to pay their salaries, to offer it to (non-governmental organizations),” he mentioned.

Afghanistan’s economic system is teetering on the point of collapse after worldwide cash stopped coming into the nation with the arrival in mid-August of the Taliban. Final month, the United Nations made a $5 billion enchantment for Afghanistan. The U.N. warns that 1 million youngsters are at risk of ravenous and 90% of Afghans stay under the poverty degree of simply $1.90 a day.

Karzai was Afghanistan’s first democratically elected president after the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001. He served till 2014 earlier than Ashraf Ghani, who fled the nation on Aug. 15, leaving the doorways open for the Taliban takeover of Kabul. Karzai was extremely thought to be embracing all of Afghanistan’s many ethnic teams however his administration, like subsequent Afghan administrations, was dogged by expenses of widespread corruption.

Karzai spoke to a packed press convention inside his sprawling compound within the capital of Kabul. Dozens of Afghanistan’s Pashto- and Persian-language journalists jockeyed for house in a second-floor convention room with greater than a dozen tv cameras.

Karzai used the information convention to press the nation’s Taliban rulers and their opponents to discover a solution to come collectively. He lobbied for the normal Afghan grand council, or loya jirga, as a way to seek out consensus and set up a extra consultant administration.

“We, as Afghans, and the present performing Islamic authorities should do our greatest to not give America or some other nation any excuse to be towards us,” he mentioned.

Anger has been rising in Afghanistan since Friday’s White Home announcement. Demonstrators marched once more in Kabul on Sunday demanding the cash be returned to Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the Taliban, who’ve additionally condemned Biden’s order, dispersed protesters as they tried to collect close to town’s Eid Gah mosque.

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