Washington should release the assets of the Afghan Central Bank it froze last year after the Taliban takeover and return them to the Afghan people, a group of more than 70 renowned economists said in an open letter on Wednesday.
The economists and academics from the US, the UK, India, France, Canada, Australia, and Brazil said they were “deeply concerned” by the “economic and humanitarian catastrophes unfolding in Afghanistan” and the role America played in “driving them.”
After the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the US blocked $7 billion in the Afghan Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves stored at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Another $2 billion were frozen by the UK, Germany, the UAE and some other nations.
The frozen assets are “critical” to the functioning of the Afghan economy, including the facilitation of food and oil imports, on which the nation heavily relies, the open letter addressing President Joe Biden and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.