The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, and the Islamic Emirate’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and their accompanying delegations met in Antalya, Turkey on Friday and discussed Afghanistan’s political and economic situation. Both were in Turkey for the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.
Today West said on Twitter that they had a productive conversation. “Covered critical issues for the Afghan people: economic stabilization & growth, education, & commercial air travel,” he said.
West said the US shared the allies’ and partners’ view that the international community must stay engaged with the Islamic Emirate and welcomed the reopening of universities in Afghanistan. But he said much more work needs to be done. “Much more work remains on human rights, protecting gains, and seeing the richness of Afghan society reflected in governance,” he said.
The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said Muttaqi and West have agreed that the $3.5 billion Afghan central bank’s assets that have been freed from the US court’s litigation after US President Joe Biden’s executive order should not be given to international humanitarian aid groups and should not be spent as humanitarian assistance.
“The Afghan side reiterated that the mentioned $3.5 billion and the remaining $3.5 billion should be freed and given to Afghanistan central bank, because all the assets belong to the people of Afghanistan and only they can make a decision about that money,” the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
According to the ministry, Muttaqi said in the meeting that the "seizure" of the Afghan bank’s assets will impact the Islamic Emirate-US’s relations negatively. Both sides agreed to continue such meetings to discuss the issues, the ministry said.
Following the collapse of Afghanistan’s former government, the US froze over $9 billion of foreign assets of Afghanistan’s central bank. In February, Biden signed an executive order which would preserve $3.5 billion for the people of Afghanistan, while the remaining funds would remains frozen and subject to ongoing litigation in a US court case brought by 9/11 victims.