The Hague, 23 February 2022,
His Execllency Mr. J. Biden, president of United States of America,
With House, Washtington DC
His Execllency Mr. J. Biden
From the start of 20th century, Afghan kingdom kept gold, bonds and currency in the US Federal Reserve Bank as back up for Afghan currency (Afghani). The amount of which grew higher during the last two decades. A remarkable amount of current assets came from foreign exchange funds that accumulated over the past 20 years. Half a billion of it is deposits of the ordinary Afghans and businessmen trusted by commercial banks to Afghanistan Central Bank.
When the pro-US Afghan government dissolved on 15 August 2021, it left behind more than $7 billion in central bank assets on deposit at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Another three billion was put on deposit in Banks in Germany, Switzerland, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. Because it was no longer clear who — if anyone — had legal authority to gain access to those accounts, the Federal Reserve bank made the funds unavailable for withdrawal. Banks in Germany, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar followed suit. This move was understandable because it was a safeguarding measure to protect the assets of Afghanistan.
On Feb. 11th 2022, you, as US president issued an executive order invoking emergency powers to freeze all $7 kept in New York. The administration said, it would ask a judge for permission to move $3.5 billion to a trust fund it would set up to support the needs of the Afghan people, like for humanitarian relief. In the meantime, you started to clear a legal path for certain relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to pursue $3.5 billion from the 7-billion-dollar assets of Afghanistan Central Bank.
Your decision on expenditure of national assets of Afghanistan is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan. It is unusual and controversial. FAROE, a platform of tens of Afghan social-cultural organizations of Afghans residing in Europe, decided to join the protest of the people of Afghanistan demanding reconsidering this decision by you, Mr. president. European Afghans expect also European Union and its Member States to stand with the people of Afghanistan and criticize president Bidens decision on this issue.
Why Afghan Europeans oppose this decision:
- Afghan assets in Federal Reserve Bank and in banks in other 4 countries belong to the people of Afghanistan, not to the Taliban. A big part of these assets kept in Fed, since the 50s, when Afghanistan a kingdom was. That was long before the Taliban project was designed by the CIA and implemented in 1993 by Pakistan.
- Mr. Biden’s executive order on partition and expenditure of the assets belonging to another nation, on US soil, is highly unusual and contradicts all legal norms, customary international laws, and general standards of ethics.
- To give the assets of one of the poorest countries in the World to the victims of a terrorist attack planned and executed by 15 nationals of the oil rich Saudi Arabia, where no Afghan was involved. and the leader of this terrorist group was granted sanctuary by Pakistani Army in Abbottabad until his death in 2012, is an excessive reaction against a nation which have nothing to do with 9/11.
- This executive order destroys the trust, a part of the population in Afghanistan had, in banking system and in the United States. The decision feeds the growth of anti-American sentiments the Taliban try to create.
- The people of Afghanistan have been victimized and revictimized repeatedly by the Taliban from 1996 tell now. Using financial assets of these victims to pay the victims of 9/11 tragedy, is not justifiable. It will mean re-victimizing a nation, badly misunderstood by Mr. Biden.
- Blocking the Afghan banking system from international banking system (SWIFT)brought the weak economy of Afghanistan in verge of collapse. Traders cannot pay or receive money. This measure can not affect the Taliban. They are used to illegal ways of transfer of money and relying on benefits from illicit business of drugs. As the experience of Iran and North Korea shows, economic sanction without a limited target, does not affect the dictators, but the ordinary people. We request the US president to target the Taliban, not the whole nation.
- Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan started in 2020, has reached the phase of mass starvation which can result to destabilization, and a new wave of refugees if not addressed timely. Addressing this problem needs international solidarity and contribution by all rich countries. But FAROE opposes your decision to use 3,5 billion of the 7 billion kept in Fed for humanitarian relief. The USA, as former occupying power which used Afghan territory for war on terror, has a moral responsibility towards the people of Afghanistan who lost 250.000 of its sons in this war. Mr. President, you should help this people out of humanitarian crisis, but not by using their own national assets.
- We do not ask for handing these assets over to the Taliban. We want you to let the assets sit untouched, gathering interest for years, until the Taliban lose power or change itself to a normal and legitimate government.
The World is responsible for what is happening in Afghanistan. If the USA sanctions the people of Afghanistan despite their sacrifices, they will lose its fait in the USA, a nation they respected in 2001 and did not resist its invasion. Afghanistan needs these assets for standing up after a crisis started in 1978 and continues now. To nihil these assets, will be an historic mistake and depriving Afghan nation from any chance of recovery.
Mrs. Lona Wali, chairperson of FAROE