US President Biden seizes $7 billion in Afghan assets
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Joe Biden seized $7 billion in assets belonging to the previous Afghan government on Friday with the aim of splitting the funds between victims of the 9/11 attacks and desperately needed aid for post-war Afghanistan.
Biden formally seized the assets in an executive order. The money had been stuck in the New York Federal Reserve since the fall of the US-backed government in Kabul and takeover by the Taliban insurgency that fought US-led forces for 20 years.
A senior US official said Biden will seek authority to funnel $3.5 billion of that into a humanitarian aid trust fund for Afghans, with the rest becoming potentially available to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"The administration will seek to facilitate access to $3.5 billion of those assets for the benefit of the Afghan people and for Afghanistan's future," the White House said.
The money will be put in a trust fund that will manage aid in a way that bypasses the Taliban authorities, whose government has not been recognized by the United States.
"More than $3.5 billion in (Afghan) assets would remain in the United States and are subject to ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism. Plaintiffs will have a full opportunity to have their claims heard in court," the White House said.