December 3, 2023

Pakistan encourages release of frozen Afghan assets

Pakistan encourages release of frozen Afghan assets

Pakistan has called on the West to release the Afghan state’s assets abroad that have been frozen due to the takeover of the extremist Islamist Taliban movement.

The basics in brief

  • Foreign Minister: The move would be a “confidence-building measure” toward the Taliban.

“On the one hand, you raise new money to avoid a crisis, and on the other hand you cannot use the money that belongs to you,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Monday before talks on Afghanistan in the framework of the United Nations. General Assembly.

The United States froze $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets. International lenders also avoid Afghanistan for fear of repercussions if they provide money to the internationally pariah Taliban. Meanwhile, at a donors’ conference a week ago, the United Nations raised more than one billion euros in emergency aid for Afghanistan.

“I think the asset freeze is not conducive to the situation,” Qureshi said. “I would urge officials to reconsider this policy and consider lifting the freeze.” This may also be a “confidence-building measure” and could be an “incentive for positive behavior” by the Taliban.

Pakistan was the main international supporter of the Islamists during the first Taliban rule in Afghanistan in the late 1990s. After the invasion of US forces in 2001, the US accused the Pakistani intelligence services of providing shelter and support for the Taliban.

However, Qureshi has now made it clear that the Pakistani government also considers it too early to officially recognize the Taliban government. “I don’t think anyone is in a rush to get recognition at this point, and the Taliban should keep an eye on that,” he said.

He also highlighted the “positive aspects” of the new Taliban rule, such as the announcement of amnesty for former government employees and the stated willingness to include ethnic groups other than the dominant Pashtuns. “These are trends that we must encourage,” the foreign minister said.

But human rights activists and eyewitnesses report that the Taliban are not keeping their promises in practice. Therefore, women are not allowed to work. On Tuesday, human rights organizations around Amnesty International presented a report documenting further human rights abuses committed by the Taliban since they came to power, including torture and targeted killings of civilians.

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