UN calls on US, World Bank to unfreeze funds in Afghanistan

Published on : 14/01/2022 – 07:56

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged Washington and the World Bank to release Afghan funds frozen since the Taliban came to power. Necessary funds, he argues, to prevent the country from sinking into a deep humanitarian crisis.

Two days after asked for nearly $ 4.4 billion to finance humanitarian needs in Afghanistan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, January 13, called on the United States and the World Bank to unfreeze funds Afghans stranded since the Taliban came to power. Otherwise, he warned, “the nightmare unfolding in the country” will only increase.

“The rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and the economy must be suspended in this emergency,” he pleaded during a meeting with journalists.

“The United States has a very important role to play because the major part of the world financial system functions in dollars”, noted the chief of the UNO. “And there is a significant volume of funds that are frozen in the United States and in several other countries of the world.”

In recent months, money has been released but “we must do even more to quickly inject liquidity into the economy and avoid a collapse that would lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions of people” , he said, quoting the World Bank.

Last month, the World Bank took $ 280 million from a fund dedicated to Afghanistan to transfer it to Unicef ​​and the World Food Program operating in the country, said Antonio Guterres. “I hope that the remaining resources, over $ 1.2 billion, will be released to help the Afghan people survive the winter,” he said.

Washington remains deaf

The Taliban are also grappling with the United States’ freezing of $ 9.5 billion in Afghan Central Bank reserves, which is equivalent to half of the country’s 2020 GDP.

Washington has so far remained deaf to the demands of the Islamists who demand a thaw of these funds to revive the economy and fight against the famine threatening today, according to the UN, 23 million Afghans, or 55% of the population. .

The UN chief stressed that his appeal was coupled with an “urgent request to the Taliban leaders to recognize and protect the fundamental human rights of women and girls”. “No country can prosper by denying the rights of half of its population,” he insisted.

“Humanitarian operations desperately need more money and more flexibility. Freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a deadly combination for the Afghan people,” he warned.

He said helping the country to function “will give Afghans hope for the future and a reason to stay in their country.”

With AFP

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