Almost a month after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in a flash campaign, the militant group was not in able to get their hands on the Afghan Central Bank’s estimated $ 10 billion reserves. The United States froze most of the $ 9.5 billion asset of the central bank, some of which were held in New York in August after the collapse of the Afghan government.
Without money, the Taliban lack sufficient funds, a situation akin to a hard-line takeover in which America froze Iranian assets for decades after the 1979 Iranian revolution which saw Ayatollah Khomeini take control of the government.
The Wall Street Journal reported that since the Iranian revolution, the country has continued to try to recover at least $ 400 million in detention. in a Pentagon trust fund in an epic struggle that has moved from one American presidency to another.
Frozen funds were a thorn in the side of US-Iranian relations for decades until they were returned to Iran in 2016 under the Obama administration. in an undisclosed means of transport from Geneva. Meanwhile, four American citizens have been released from Iranian prisons, the newspaper said, despite the Obama administration’s insistence that it was not a ransom payment.
The previous conflict between the two sides could be reflected in Afghanistan, where the Taliban announced on Tuesday the formation of a new interim government to govern the country for the second time.
“With Iran, of course, the freeze has been going on for decades,” Cornell University law and finance professor Robert Hockett told Insider. “And with the Taliban, this could go on for decades if the Taliban themselves last for decades.”
He added that “the United States has the legal authority to freeze the assets that they were in government possession when that government is replaced by an illegitimate government. “
As for frozen funds, Hockett said “the only way” for the Taliban to see billions of dollars. in reservations was “if the movement abandoned its approach”. “If they stop being Taliban, they could be seen as the legitimate government of Afghanistan,” he added.
The Associated Press reported that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Wednesday that the Taliban must gain legitimacy and that any negotiations with the armed group would be in Afghanistan’s national interest.
The interim governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, Ajmal Ahmadi, said in earlier in the New York Times that approximately $ 7 billion of central bank reserves were held by the New York Federal Reserve, while $ 1.3 billion were deposited in international accounts.
Hockett said such assets could remain frozen in the United States “indefinitely”. “There isn’t any kind of time or date or how long it might take,” he said. “It could be literally hundreds of years, legally speaking.”
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