- Joe Biden decides to keep half of Afghan’s $7 billion assets in the US.
- Jemima Goldsmith says the move is “morally indefensible.”
- “Not a single Afghan was involved in 9/11,” she says.
British screenwriter Jemima Goldsmith has lashed out at the United States government after it decided to keep half of Afghan’s $7 billion assets in the country and hand over the rest to needy Afghans.
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday to deal with the threat of economic collapse in Afghanistan, setting the wheels for a complex resolution of competing interests in the country’s assets.
The United States wants to release half of the Afghan central bank’s $7 billion in frozen assets on US soil to help the Afghan people, while holding the rest to potentially comply with terrorism-related lawsuits against the Taliban, the White House said. .
Under the multi-step plan, the other half of the funds must remain in the United States, subject to pending lawsuits by American victims of terrorism, including relatives of those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, during hijackings, the officials said.
Senior US government officials said they would work to access $3.5 billion of assets — mainly from aid to Afghanistan over the past two decades — for the benefit of the Afghan people.
Read more: Biden plans to release half of Afghan’s $7 billion frozen funds for aid, the rest remain in the US
They said Washington would set up a third party to manage the funds for which details were still being worked out.
But Goldsmith disagreed with the move, calling it “morally indefensible” because no Afghan civilian was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
“This is morally indefensible when Afghan mothers are selling their organs to save their children from starvation,” she said in a tweet.
“Not a single Afghan was involved in 9/11. The average Afghan wasn’t even alive when that atrocity happened,” said Goldsmith, the ex-wife of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Washington froze Afghan funds after the Taliban’s military takeover, but was pressured to find a way to release the money without recognizing the new government, which says it belongs to them.
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s designated representative to the UN, called for the entire amount to be thawed and kept under the control of the Afghan central bank.
“The reserve is owned by Da Afghanistan Bank and by extension owned by the people of Afghanistan,” Shaheen . said Reuters†
The spokesman for the Taliban office in Doha denounced the US action in a tweet: “The US stealing and taking over frozen money belonging to the Afghan people shows the lowest level of human and moral decay of any country.”
— Additional input from Reuters