The US White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said there are no immediate plans to release Afghanistan’s central bank assets, which were frozen following the collapse of the former Afghan government on August 15.
Psaki’s remarks follow comments by the acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi who in a recent interview with the Associated Press said the Islamic Emirate wants to have good relations with the United States and that Washington should free the Afghan assets.
“Sanctions against Afghanistan would ... not have any benefit,” he said, as over $10 billion Afghan assets are frozen in banks abroad, mostly located in the United States.
Psaki said for the time being, there is no plan for release of these funds. “There are a number of reasons why these reserves remain inaccessible,” Psaki said at a press briefing.
According to Psaki, one of the reasons is the ongoing legal proceedings brought in by some of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. “These legal proceedings cannot be disregarded and have led to the temporary suspension of any movement of the funds or at least the end of the year and quite possibly longer," she said.
Psaki, however, said the United States is working on how to make the funds available to the people of Afghanistan amid the humanitarian crisis in the country without the money going to the Islamic Emirate.
“The United States continues to face difficult fundamental questions about how it might be able to make reserve funds available to directly benefit the people of Afghanistan with, while ensuring that the funds do not benefit the Taliban,” she said.
In the meantime, the US State Depaertment said in a statement that since August 31 the US has directly assisted 479 American citizens and 450 lawful permanent residents to leave Afghanistan and resettle in the United States.
On Monday the Pentagon said no US forces involved in the August 29 Kabul airstrike will be punished. The strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children, and was determined by the US to be a "tragic mistake."