Biden administration doesn’t plan to launch frozen Afghan belongings quickly over issues they could be diverted to terror teams

2022-08-15 22:27:06

“We don’t see recapitalization of the Afghan central financial institution as a near-term choice,” mentioned Tom West, the State Division’s particular consultant for Afghanistan.

West mentioned that “the Taliban’s sheltering of al Qa’ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri reinforces deep issues we have now relating to diversion of funds to terrorist teams.”

A Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson pointed to progress in establishing a mechanism to launch the funds, however cited Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul as having a direct influence on how the administration offers with the Taliban.

“We now have been engaged with overseas counterparts in efforts to assist the institution of a world belief fund with strong safeguards to allow using Afghan reserves for the good thing about the Afghan folks given Afghanistan’s ongoing financial and humanitarian disaster,” the NSC spokesperson mentioned. “We now have made appreciable progress and our focus proper now’s on supporting the institution of this fund. The latest revelations of the Taliban’s flagrant violation of the Doha settlement illustrate the significance of remaining clear-eyed in our dealings with the Taliban. Our strategy to the way forward for these belongings will proceed to mirror that actuality.”

This determination to not transfer on the releasing of the funds anytime quickly comes about six months after President Joe Biden signed an government order permitting for the $7 billion in frozen belongings from Afghanistan’s central financial institution to ultimately be distributed contained in the nation and to doubtlessly fund litigation introduced by households of victims of the September 11 terror assaults. The funds have been frozen by the US authorities after the Afghan authorities collapsed final yr and the Taliban took over management of the nation.

On Sunday, CNN reported {that a} US intelligence evaluation ready after the US killed Zawhahiri earlier this month discovered that the terrorist group “has not reconstituted its presence in Afghanistan” since all US troops left the nation final August.

A abstract of the intelligence evaluation mentioned that the consensus view of the intelligence neighborhood is that whereas fewer than a dozen al Qaeda “core members” stay in Afghanistan — and have been possible there earlier than Kabul fell to the Taliban final yr — Zawahiri was the one key determine who had tried to reestablish himself within the nation after US forces departed.

New US intelligence assessment finds al Qaeda 'has not reconstituted its presence in Afghanistan'

Nevertheless, the choice to not unfreeze the belongings underlines issues throughout the administration in regards to the potential long-term risk terror teams may pose beneath the Taliban.

Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed issues in regards to the potential risk. “I am fearful in regards to the chance that we are going to see al Qaeda reconstitute,” he advised Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, throughout a congressional listening to.

Requested if he was fearful about an assault on the homeland “emanating from locations like Afghanistan,” Wray mentioned, “We’re. Particularly now that we’re out I am fearful in regards to the potential lack of sources and assortment over there.”

West additionally cited US issues in regards to the Afghan’s central financial institution administration capabilities.

House Republicans to issue scathing report criticizing Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal

“Whereas we have now engaged Afghan technocrats with the central financial institution for a lot of months relating to measures to boost the nation’s macroeconomic stability, we should not have confidence that that establishment has the safeguards and monitoring in place to handle belongings responsibly,” West mentioned.

Of the $7 billion in funds, $3.5 billion may go towards offering reduction contained in the nation, the place fears of mass hunger have taken maintain within the months because the Taliban took over. The remaining $3.5 billion was set to be made obtainable for the households of 9/11 victims, who’ve been combating in court docket for compensation utilizing the frozen funds.

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