The US and Islamic Emirate officials have exchanged proposals for the release of billions of dollars from Afghan central bank reserves held abroad into a trust fund, Reuters said, citing three sources familiar with the talks.
According to two sources the significant differences between the sides remain, including the Islamic Emirate's refusal to replace the bank's top political appointees, one of whom is under US sanctions as are several of the movement's leaders.
While the Islamic Emirate does not reject the concept of a trust fund, they oppose a US proposal for third-party control of the fund that would hold and disburse returned reserves, said an Islamic Emirate government source who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.
The US has been in talks with Switzerland and other parties on the creation of a mechanism that would include the trust fund, disbursements from which would be decided with the help of an international board, according to a US source speaking to Reuters who also declined to be named.
A possible model could be the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, a World Bank-administered fund created to get donations of foreign development assistance to Kabul, the US, the source added.
The Ministry of Economy, asked about the report, stressed the need to release Afghan assets, saying this will benefit Afghanistan.
“Our assets support the economic and financial system of our country. The imposition of sanctions not only affected the trade and business but also impacted the humanitarian aid,” said Abdulrahman Habib, a spokesman for the ministry.
The economists said that the move will prevent the Islamic Emirate from interfering with the funds.
“The Islamic Emirate should use the assets for its budget because the assets are meant to be used in an emergency situation,” said Seyar Qureshi, an economist.
“When a country is monitoring this--indeed, it will be most likely Qatar and if an organization monitors it, it will be most likely the World Bank,” said Ahmad Munib Rasa, a political analyst.
After the Islamic Emirate swept into power, more than $9 billion of the country’s Central Bank assets were frozen by the US and the international community.