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Taliban calls for release of frozen funds after deadly earthquake

Economic Indicators Jun 26, 2022 02:40AM ET
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© Reuters. Afghan women carry water containers through the debris of damaged houses after the recent earthquake in Wor Kali village in the Barmal district of Paktika province, Afghanistan, June 25, 2022. REUTERS/Ali Khara

By Charlotte Greenfield

KABUL (Reuters) -Afghanistan's Taliban administration on Saturday called on international governments to roll back sanctions and lift a freeze on central bank assets following the earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless.

The 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the east of the country early on Wednesday destroyed or damaged 10,000 homes and injured about 2,000 people, straining the country's fragile health system and posing a major test for the ruling Taliban. [L1N2YC094]

"The Islamic Emirate is asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life and that is through lifting the sanctions and unfreezing our assets and also giving assistance," Abdul Qahar Balkhi, foreign affairs ministry spokesman, told Reuters in an interview.

While humanitarian aid continues to flow to Afghanistan, funds needed for longer-term development were halted when the Taliban seized control of the country in August 2021 as foreign forces withdrew.

The administration of the hard line Islamist group is not formally recognised by international governments.

Billions of U.S. dollars in Afghan central bank reserves remain frozen overseas and sanctions hamper the banking sector as the West pushes for concessions on human rights.

Western governments are particularly concerned about the rights of women and girls to work and study under Taliban rule. In March, the group stopped high schools for girls from opening.

Asked about the issue, Balkhi said Afghans' right to life-saving funds should be the priority, adding that the international community handled concerns over human rights differently depending on the country involved.

"Is this rule universal? Because the United States just passed an anti-abortion law," Balkhi said, referring to the Supreme Court's overturning on Friday of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised a woman's right to an abortion.

"Sixteen countries in the world have taken away the rights of religious minorities, especially Muslims ... are they also facing sanctions because they are violating rights?," he asked.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Saturday the U.S. government was working on "complicated questions about the use of these (frozen central bank) funds to ensure they benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban."

She added that the U.S. Agency for International Development was providing assistance with humanitarian organisations.

Taliban calls for release of frozen funds after deadly earthquake
 

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Comments (7)
David Pires
David Pires Jun 25, 2022 7:52PM ET
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Send them food and medical supplies, but dont release a dime of cash! All theyll do is buy a boat load of weapons to stash in their mountains and continue to terrorize their own people.
99
99 Jun 25, 2022 7:52PM ET
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They're in power now and they have no funds to rebuild the country after it was destroyed by the West. These people are suffering. So much harm is caused around the world by Western sanctions designed to cause poverty and starvation and thus allow Western picked governments to gain power and allow elites to profit from favorable business dealings. We need to stop the trade wars in the world, they cause nothing but harm.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 25, 2022 7:52PM ET
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The US did not destroy Afghanistan. Its economy grew 5x while the US was there.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 25, 2022 7:52PM ET
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The US did not destroy Afghanistan. Its economy grew 5x while the US was there.
ZS Beck
ZS Beck Jun 25, 2022 5:52PM ET
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I call the Taliban to leave and go back to the mountains if I recall nobody elected them in power.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 25, 2022 4:20PM ET
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Are they still dictating to women what they can do with their bodies?
Souradeep Sarkar
Souradeep Sarkar Jun 25, 2022 2:17PM ET
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I would like Taliban to start there terrorising activities against anti countries like Europe and US. Otherwise thew will not give money back.
Bad Santa
Bad Santa Jun 25, 2022 2:04PM ET
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Why not sell the black hawks back to Brandon?
Flo Mrck
Flo Mrck Jun 25, 2022 2:04PM ET
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best comment i saw 🤣
Nick Edward
Nick Edward Jun 25, 2022 1:44PM ET
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Why don’t they pray to alah about it
Invest Right
Invest Right Jun 25, 2022 1:44PM ET
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They did and we got Biden.
Gold Trader
YaHabibi Jun 25, 2022 1:44PM ET
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becouse US and EU thiefs Stole Afghan Moneys shame on you US stole 500billion assists From afghanistan and 9billion Bank reserve they loss war now become thief
Frank Reza
Frank Reza Jun 25, 2022 12:26PM ET
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Their track record with human rights and women's rights are an abomination. They're in no position to be spouting off and trying to shame the rest the world into giving them frozen Afghan funds to further their ideals. Just bc they invaded and destroyed the country, doesn't give them the right to Afghanistan's frozen assets! Fu@k em!!
Michael Alexander Poddig
Michael Alexander Poddig Jun 25, 2022 12:26PM ET
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You are a girl 100%
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 25, 2022 12:26PM ET
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A smart girl.
 
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