(Photo credit: Reuters)
A US delegation met with Taliban officials in Uzbekistan on 27 July to discuss the release of $3.5 billion from Afghanistan’s international reserves.
The US officials told the Taliban it was necessary to accelerate efforts to unlock the foreign accounts, saying the funds should be used for the welfare of the Afghan people.
The meeting between the US delegation and the Taliban is the most recent round of talks between Washington and Kabul on the issue of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves.
The government of US President Joe Biden seeks to establish mechanisms to allow Afghanistan to access its foreign reserves while placing restrictions on the use of the funds by the Taliban.
Afghanistan continues to struggle in resolving its economic crisis.
Following the Taliban victory and the US withdrawal in August 2021, Afghanistan has faced dozens of attacks from extreme groups such as ISIS-K and the loss of access to international aid, which accounted for 40 percent of its GDP.
Over the past year, the UN has made several appeals for the support of millions of Afghans facing severe hunger and a lack access to basic medical care.
With the US cutting Afghanistan off from its resources and blocking international organizations from providing emergency aid, a severe humanitarian crisis has unraveled in the war-torn country.
Last month, a number of relatives of the victims of the 11 September attacks called on Biden to release Afghanistan’s foreign reserves to allow the country to overcome its various crises.
US and Taliban officials exchanged proposals for the release of funds in June during a meeting in the Qatari capital Doha.
This exchange of proposals was seen in a positive light by the US as it allowed for the release of the frozen reserves while disallowing access by the Taliban.
Washington has reportedly been in talks with Switzerland and other parties to create a trust fund mechanism, from which disbursements would be made, with the help of an international board.