Usma Lateef

Staff Writer

On February 11, 2022, President Biden signed an executive order to take hold of $7 billion of frozen funds belonging to Afghanistan and give half ($3.5 billion) to the American families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, while the other half would go toward providing relief to the people of Afghanistan. 

Families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have been fighting in court for a while to get compensation for the loss of their loved ones. Since Biden does not want any of the Afghan money to fall into the hands of the Taliban, he came up with this solution of splitting the money between the families of 9/11 victims and relief in Afghanistan.

It is unusual for the U.S. to use any of the $7 billion for American matters since the money belongs to the people of Afghanistan (as the money was in the form of frozen funds of the Afghan central bank). Currently, Afghans are facing drought, starvation, and the downfall of their economy since international money had stopped coming into Afghanistan once the Taliban took over. In the end, the Afghan people are suffering due to the decisions of world powers to withhold money from their nation. Additionally, many have argued that it makes no sense to use any of the Afghan assets as compensation to American families of victims of the 9/11 attacks since Afghans did not cause the attacks of 9/11.

Barry Amundson, a man whose brother was killed in the 9/11 attacks, himself thinks all of the money should be put toward humanitarian relief for Afghans. He said, “I can’t think of a worse betrayal of the people of Afghanistan than to freeze their assets and give it to 9/11 families. While 9/11 families are seeking justice for their loss through these suits, I fear that the end result of seizing this money will be to cause further harm to innocent Afghans who have already suffered greatly.”

In this crucial time where the mass suffering of Afghans could be further prevented, America has shown to have “a shortsighted view,” as Dr. Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, who has been a member of the Afghan central bank’s board for a long time, commented.

Picture Source: Bloomberg/Getty Images

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