Biden seizes $7 bln in Afghan assets

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden walks across the South Lawn after returning on Marine One to the White House on February 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. President Biden spent the afternoon in Culpeper, Virginia, where he delivered remarks on the work his administration has done to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)


WASHINGTON, United States (AFP)– President Joe Biden seized $7 billion in assets belonging to the previous Afghan government on Friday with the aim of splitting the funds between victims of the 9/11 attacks and desperately needed aid for post-war Afghanistan.

Biden formally seized the assets in an executive order. The money had been stuck in the New York Federal Reserve since the fall of the US-backed government in Kabul and takeover by the Taliban insurgency that fought US-led forces for 20 years.

A senior US official said Biden will seek authority to funnel $3.5 billion of that into a humanitarian aid trust fund for Afghans, with the rest becoming potentially available to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“The administration will seek to facilitate access to $3.5 billion of those assets for the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan’s future,” the White House said.

The money will be put in a trust fund that will manage aid in a way that bypasses the Taliban authorities, whose government has not been recognized by the United States.

“More than $3.5 billion in (Afghan) assets would remain in the United States and are subject to ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism. Plaintiffs will have a full opportunity to have their claims heard in court,” the White House said.


© Agence France-Presse