WASHINGTON: Despite the late al Qaeda leader’s presence in Kabul and the Taliban and Afghan central bank’s hesitation, US President Joe Biden’s administration will move forward with negotiations on the release of billions of dollars in Afghanistan’s foreign-held assets, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.
As the United Nations warns that almost half of Afghanistan’s 40 million people face “acute hunger” as winter approaches, the decision to move through with the plan to help stabilise the country’s crumbling economy highlights rising concern in Washington over a humanitarian crisis.
The US-led effort’s fundamental component is a plan to transfer billions in assets owned by the Afghan central bank that are currently in foreign hands.In discussions in Doha in late June, the group offered a counterproposal.
Twelve days after a CIA drone strike killed al Qaeda leader Zawahiri on a balcony of his Kabul safehouse, US State Department and Treasury officials told independent analysts at a briefing on August 11 that they will continue the talks despite being impatient with the pace, according to two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
According to one source, a US official claimed that the Taliban and the Afghan central bank, sometimes referred to by the initials DAB, are not responding quickly.