Russia claim to US to free Afghan assets
August 31, 2021.
On Monday, Russia demanded that the U.S emit Afghan central bank resources that had been frozen following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul earlier this month. ”If our Western associates are truly concerned about the outcome of the Afghan people, we should not insert to their difficulties by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserve funds,” said Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan.
The United States should soon reopen these funds, he said on the state-run Rossiya 24 network, in order to “reinforce the cost of the collapsing national currency.” Kabulov added that if this is not done, the new Afghan officials will resort to “unauthorized narcotic trafficking” and “black market sales of weapons” dismissed by the Afghan army and the US.
According to the IMF, the Afghan central bank’s gross reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April. The vast majority of these funds are held in countries other than Afghanistan. Washington has stated that the Taliban would not have access to funds held in the US, but has not specified the total amount. Afghanistan has long been the biggest producer of heroin and opium, with profits from the illicit trade aiding the Taliban’s funding.