Thursday Nov 18, 2021
KABUL: The Taliban called Wednesday on the US Congress members to release Afghan assets frozen after their takeover of the country, warning economic turmoil at home could lead to trouble abroad.
In an open letter, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the biggest challenge facing Afghanistan was financial insecurity, "and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government".
Washington has seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank, and the aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed -- with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports.
"I present to you our compliments and would like to share a few thoughts on our bilateral relations," Muttaqi wrote, noting that 2021 was the centenary of Washington recognising Afghanistan´s sovereignty.
In measured understatement, he added: "Akin to other world countries, our bilateral relations have also experienced ups and downs."
Muttaqi said Afghanistan was enjoying stable government for the first time in over 40 years -- a period that started with an invasion by the Soviet Union in 1979 and ended with the withdrawal of the last US troops on August 31.
The Taliban have since returning to power gone to great lengths to convince the international community that they intend to do things differently this time -- though no female ministers have been named, and girls are still barred from returning to secondary school.
"Practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency," Muttaqi wrote.
“No threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation.”