China: US should fully release Afghan assets

KABUL (ToloNews): Following the establishment of the “Afghan Fund” in Switzerland, China called on the US to fully release Afghanistan’s assets and lift all unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan.
Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that America should take the majority of the responsibility for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
“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, the spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry.
Meanwhile, the Switzerland Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement about the purpose of the foundation:
“The purpose of the foundation is to receive, protect, preserve for the future and partially disburse part of the Afghan central bank’s assets, which are currently frozen in the US. In its role as a member of the board of trustees, Switzerland is helping to create medium- and long-term prospects for the people of Afghanistan,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, funds amounting to around USD 3.5 billion are to be used by the foundation to promote macroeconomic stability in Afghanistan, for example to service debts to international organisations or to import electricity. “Strong measures have been put in place to prevent the fund from being utilized for unlawful activities. The Afghan fund will continue to be held with the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland,” said Sieyar Qureshi, the former chairman of the Afghanistan Bank Union.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate in a statement called the creation of this fund unacceptable.
“If the reserves are disbursed without taking into consideration legitimate demands of the Afghans, the Islamic Emirate will be forced to impose fines against, and ban activities of, all individuals, institutions and companies that facilitate this illegal venture and seek to misuse Central Bank reserves for humanitarian and other purposes,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, some students believe that if Afghanistan’s assets are spent on humanitarian aid, it will increase poverty.
“Not only does it not lower the level of poverty, but it actually grows since it is money to maintain the Afghan currency,” said Javad, a university student.
Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, a member of the Supreme Council of Da Afghanistan Bank and member of the board of trustees of the “Afghan Fund” said that this asset should be used to preserve the value of the Afghan currency.
“I have advocated that the reserves should be utilized to support severe liquidity and monetary crisis in Afghanistan, that is to restore price stability so that ordinary Afghans will be in a position to pay for basic household necessities like bread, cooking oil, sugar and fuel. In addition, commercial banks will need to be provided with adequate liquidity to enable individuals and businesses to withdraw their own money. These reserves are to be used to safeguard international value of Afghani. There are currently 4 members on the Board of Trustees, two Afghan economic experts, a US representative and a Swiss government representative. I am a Chair of the Audit Committee of DAB and a member of the Supreme Council of DAB,” said Mehrabi. Currently, the Afghan Fund’s board of trustees consists of two Afghan economic experts, a US official, and a Swiss government representative.