Taliban writes U.S. Congress, urges lifting of sanctions

Mullah Hasan Akhund: head of Taliban Afghanistan’s government

In an open letter to the United States Congress, Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are urging the U.S. to address the humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.

The letter signed by the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Mutaqi, has called on Washington to release Afghan central bank assets.

“Currently, the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government,’’ the letter released on Wednesday reads.

The Taliban were concerned that if the current situation prevailed, it would lead to mass migrations and damage the country’s health and education sectors.

“The suffering of a child from malnutrition, the death of a mother from lack of health services, the deprivation of a common Afghan from food, shelter, medicine and other primary needs has no political or logical justification.

“It is detrimental for the prestige of the government and people of the United States of America because this is a pure humanitarian issue.’’

When the Taliban took over power in the country in August, most aid to Afghanistan was suspended.

Around nine billion in the country’s central bank reserves, most of which were parked in the U.S., have been frozen.

Prior to that, the Kabul Government had received $8.5 billion in military and civil aid annually, according to a report by the Kabul think-tank, Afghanistan Analysts Network.

The grants were used to finance 75 per cent of public spending.

Millions of people have now lost their main source of income, and the education and health sectors as well as other public services, are no longer fully operational.

The United Nations has warned that 97 per cent of Afghans could plunge into poverty by mid-2022. (dpa/NAN)