Money changers have gone on strike in most of the country’s provinces following the appropriation of half of Afghanistan’s frozen funds to 9/11 victims. They say the 9/11 attacks have nothing to do with the people of Afghanistan. Money changers are urging the US president to pay financial compensation to the families of hundreds of thousands of Afghans killed in two decades of war.
Haji Mirza, head of the Money Changers’ Union in Parwan province, told Hasht-e Subh on Tuesday that money changers have gone on strike for one day following an executive order by US President Joe Biden to cut half of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves. He said that the fund belongs to the people of Afghanistan, adding that the US President has no right to interfere in it. “Today, money changers across the country went on strike over the appropriation of half of Afghanistan’s assets by the United States,” he said. “The president of the United States has no authority to cut Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves.”
The Union of Money Changers considers the US move to be against international law, calling on the international community to oblige the US to reconsider its recent decision.
Khan Mohammad Nizami, head of the Money Changers’ Union in Logar, also said that the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with the people of Afghanistan. “Biden’s order is an unjust act and a great injustice to the rights of the oppressed people of Afghanistan,” he said. “This funds neither belong to the previous regime nor the current government, but every single individual of this land that has been in war and misery for more than four decades.”
However, money changers in Farah province called Joe Biden a “thief” and demanded that the money be returned to the people of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, some residents and money changers in Takhar province called on the United Nations and Islamic countries to urge the US President to release all of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves.
Some citizens in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Faryab, Jalalabad, and Paktia provinces also chanted slogans in response to the recent US decision.
US President Joe Biden has ordered the release of $7 billion in central bank assets, Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves, and set aside half to pay compensation to the families of 9/11 victims. According to Biden, the other half of the money is to be used for humanitarian purposes, which will be deposited to a fund.
Biden’s decision provoked widespread reactions. Human Rights Watch, some former US officials, members of the US House of Representatives, and politicians have condemned Biden’s decision. Some former US officials have called Biden’s decision “a theft from the world’s poorest country by the richest country in the world.”
The money changers’ union (Sarafs Union) in Nimroz province also protested Biden’s decision. They said that the Afghan people were not involved in the 9/11 attacks and should not pay for the actions of others. Mohammad Rabbani Burhani, a member of the Money Changers’ Union in Nimroz, said the people of Afghanistan should not pay for the 9/11 attacks. “We were not involved in that attack,” he added. “America wants to destroy us. We have sacrificed in the war on terror, and we want our rights.”
However, economists warn that the implementation of Biden’s decision on Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves will exacerbate the country’s economic crisis. The central bank has also said that Biden’s decision on the bank’s assets is “unfair”. The US court has not yet ruled on the $3.5 billion in compensation that Biden owed to the families of 9/11 victims. The Central Bank of Afghanistan has a total of more than nine billion dollars of assets abroad, seven billion of which are in the United States. The rest of the bank’s assets are held in Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland.
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Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily