One Year After Taliban Takeover, US Refuses to Release Afghan Funds

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Monday marked one year since the Taliban entered Kabul and the now defunct US-backed Afghan government officially collapsed. There has been drastically less violence in the country since the US troops left, but Afghans are now facing a dire humanitarian crisis that is being exacerbated by US sanctions and Washington’s seizure of Afghan central bank funds.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Biden administration has decided not to release any of the $7 billion in Afghan central bank reserves that are held in the US as millions of Afghans are facing starvation. The administration also suspended talks with the Taliban on the funds.

US officials said the administration made the decisions over the recent operation against al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. President Biden recently announced that a CIA drone strike killed Zawahiri in the Afghan capital, although the US has no DNA evidence that it was Zawahiri who was killed. The Taliban said a drone strike took place, but haven’t confirmed that it was Zawahiri who was targeted.