Important economic developments occurred in Afghanistan in the last two years since the Islamic Emirate takeover.
These two years have seen a number of significant events, including the freezing of Afghanistan's assets, the establishment of a trust fund to hold 3.5 billion dollars of the nation's assets, the printing and transfer of 100 billion Afghani banknotes for Afghanistan by a Polish company, the worsening of the economic crisis, a decrease in funding by aid organizations and the suspension of operations of nearly 220 domestic and international organizations.
Afghanistan's economy was significantly impacted on August 15, 2021.
More than $9 billion of Afghanistan's assets were frozen in American and European banks after the Islamic Emirate took control. According to Islamic Emirate officials, the blocking of Afghan foreign exchange reserves is what has led to an increase in poverty and unemployment in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday, February 11, 2022, allowing approximately half of the $7 billion in frozen assets from Afghanistan's central bank to be reserved for victims of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. These orders sparked reactions in Afghanistan and abroad.
“The Islamic Emirate says compensation is an unrelated use for the funds and is unfair,” said Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
“These assets of the Afghan central bank frozen by the US are the national property of Afghanistan and the life-saving money of the Afghans. They should have been returned to Afghanistan in full at once, should have been handled independently by Afghanistan itself and should have been used to improve people’s livelihood and advance peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan without hindrance. We call on the US side to fully unfreeze the assets and lift unilateral sanctions on the country as soon as possible, take concrete actions to fulfil its primary responsibility for Afghanistan’s peace and reconstruction and show accountability to the world,” said Mao Ning, a spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry.
Relatives of some of the September 11 attack victims urged the US president to release $7 billion in frozen assets in Afghanistan six months after Joe Biden's order.
US State Dept spokesman Ned Price at a press conference said that $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank reserves were preserved for the benefit of the Afghan people.
“What we are focused on right now are the ongoing efforts to enable those funds, the $3.5 billion in licensed Afghan central bank reserves, to be used for the benefit of the Afghan people,” Price told the press conference. “And we’re seeking to find the best mechanism to ensure that those funds can go to the Afghan people in a way that doesn’t risk their diversion from the Taliban or other forces, including to potentially terrorist groups or terrorist actors.”
The US in cooperation with the Swiss authorities established a trust fund for the $3.5 billion Afghan assets on 15 September 2022, which is half of the $7 billion in reserve of the New York Banks.
The fund has earned $135 million in interest so far, according to Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, an official of the Afghan Trust fund.
The board of trusties include two Afghans, Shah Mahmood Mehrabi, who is also a member of Da Afghanistan Bank’s supreme council and former Minister of Finance, Anwar ul-haq Ahady as well two representatives from the US and Switzerland.
“In September of 2022, a significant development unfolded when President Biden introduced the establishment of a fresh foundation, this foundation was interested with the management of half of the immobilized reserves amounting to $3.5 billion, earmarked for the betterment of the Afghan populace," an official of the Afghan Trust Fund in Switzerland, Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, told TOLOnews.
On the other hand, over the past two years, Afghanistan's humanitarian situation has deteriorated more than ever. According to reports, 30 million Afghans require humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations said that aid operations in Afghanistan face a critical funding gap as humanitarian needs remain severe.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told a press briefing that based on the information of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), the $3.2 billion appeal to help more than 21 million people across the country is less than 25 percent funded.
“On Afghanistan, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warns that aid operations in the country face a critical funding gap as humanitarian needs remain severe. More than halfway through the year, the $3.2 billion appeal to help more than 21 million people across the country is less than 25 percent funded. There are critical funding gaps amounting to $1.3 billion, with many programmes already ended or considerably scaled back due to insufficient resources and aid pipelines at risk of imminent rupture, including for food assistance. Our humanitarian colleagues warn that we only have a short window of opportunity to procure and position vital assistance and supplies before the lean season and winter begin,” Farhan Haq told the briefing.
In its recent report, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said that the US remains the largest donor to the Afghan people, having appropriated more than $2.35 billion since the Islamic Emirate takeover in August 2021.
The Islamic Emirate has rejected the intervention of the current government in the distribution of aid.
"External aid is administered through institutions, and institutions have complete control over their financial issues and expenses. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has external control over them, protects the security of the institutions where help is distributed, and it cooperates with them where complaints are made for the sake of transparency. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan cooperates with institutions in distributing aid to the truly needy,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
According to the figures of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, work permits have been distributed to more than seven thousand people this year.
The deputy Minister of Economy, Abdul Latif Nazari, said that nearly 220 aid organizations have been closed within the last year.
Nazari said that the operations of these organizations have been halted due to not obeying guidelines.
“If they don’t follow our laws and rules, then their licenses are cancelled. So, within one year the licenses of 216 organizations with four of them foreign organizations have been cancelled,” Nazari said.
Some economists said that political challenges have a negative impact on the economy of the nation and that many residents are going through difficult times.