Biden Frees Frozen Afghan Funds For Relief, 9/11 Victims
President Joe Biden signed an order Friday to free $7 billion in Afghan assets now frozen in the US, splitting the money between humanitarian aid for poverty-stricken Afghanistan and a fund for Sept. 11 victims still seeking relief for the terror attacks that killed thousands and shocked the world, Aamer Madhani and Kathy Gannon reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Firefighters containing a blaze during the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
No money will immediately be released. But Biden’s order calls for banks to provide $3.5 billion of the frozen amount to a trust fund for distribution through humanitarian groups for Afghan relief and basic needs.
The other $3.5 billion would stay in the US to finance payments from lawsuits by US victims of terrorism that are still working their way through the courts.
International funding to Afghanistan was suspended and billions of dollars of the country’s assets abroad, mostly in the US, were frozen after the Taliban took control of the country in August as the US military withdrew.
The White House said in a statement that the order “is designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and malicious actors.”
Biden’s plan aims to resolve a complex situation in which the US is sitting on billions owned by a country where there is no government it recognizes, with competing appeals for the money for the crying needs of the Afghan people and families still scarred by the 2001 attacks.