What is behind Biden's move to release Afghan funds?

What is behind Biden's move to release Afghan funds? The US government's preconditions are, at best, attempts by President Biden to delay the return of much-needed funds to the Taliban government to rebuild Afghanistan after years of death and destruction.  It's not entirely clear why President Joe Biden moved to transfer the money (or half of it) the United States holds on behalf of the Afghan people to an account in Switzerland, but we shouldn't hold our breath as we see that money returned to its rightful owners.  When the Taliban regained power more than a year ago, the United States had $7 billion in Afghan money. Initially the moral tutelage offered by the Biden administration on this subject was weak and hardly convincing, and he even suggested that it should be given to the families of 9/11 victims in exchange for legal fees to prosecute the Taliban in international courts.  But President Biden did not think that the families of the victims would respond in a different way, telling him to give this money to the Afghan people. And only a few weeks away from the midterm elections, the president appears to have thought that threatening to return the money to the Afghans would bring him Muslim voters in the United States and vote for his party. Hence the step of transferring half of the money to an account in a Swiss bank so that it is a deposit under the supervision of officials from Switzerland and the United States.   Of course, many will question the sincerity of the intention of this step. For Afghans, this money is needed to revive the health sector and pay salaries. But it seems that President Biden will not let this money go unconditionally. These conditions center around the need for the central bank in Kabul to distance itself from the Taliban, and to replace a number of officials. These conditions, given the strength and influence of the Taliban, are preposterous.  Biden may want to play a long game and hope to accelerate the country's deterioration, as happened in the late 1990s, when the Taliban began to splinter and civil war erupted. In this scenario, there is no doubt that this money will then be given to international relief agencies to work to alleviate the chaos and malnutrition. In fact, a group of international and local NGOs recently expressed concerns about the state of the country's health sector and demanded the release of these funds.  President Biden's other argument to prevent the money from being released will be that with the Afghan economy collapsing there is always a clear concern that the Taliban will split and fight for power. In this scenario, terrorist groups in Afghanistan may align themselves with one faction in exchange for more freedom to operate in the country, which completely contradicts the international agreement signed by the Taliban in Doha in 2020.  The problem, according to the West, is exacerbated by the fact that the Taliban, for a fleeting moment after taking power, indicated that they were ready to take further conciliatory steps in their domestic political agenda. But contrary to what the West had hoped, it began implementing its strict policies on girls' education, and other issues.  Thus, Biden's speech can be placed roughly in the context of bribery because it demonstrates the possibility of transferring money, but a number of strict conditions must be respected.  One view of this equation is that it is an opportunity for the Taliban to demonstrate its ability to work with the West. Another view is that the Americans are playing a cheap game to assert hegemony, and to give President Biden an initiative that bolsters his seemingly weak and ineffective foreign policy image.  Of course, it will be believed that the initiative is completely fake and outrageous because it comes in a situation in which the country is collapsing, and that President Biden himself would be happy if the Taliban government fell, and Afghanistan later turned to seek help from the West in everything, including help in governing.  The problem is that America's tainted legacy in Afghanistan is based on lies and deceit, and Biden has lost a lot of face due to the sudden withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Today he comes to use this money as a tool for political pressure, not as a humanitarian act.  The consequences of this wrong and hypocritical decision will be to achieve what America fears, namely, the rapprochement of anti-American groups with the Taliban. This seems inevitable, not just a vague weakness in US foreign policy. Afghanistan is not only a graveyard of empires, but a gravestone to the integrity of American foreign policy.   Writer Martin Jay An award-winning British journalist. He has worked with international organizations such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, TRT

The US government's preconditions are, at best, attempts by President Biden to delay the return of much-needed funds to the Taliban government to rebuild Afghanistan after years of death and destruction.

It's not entirely clear why President Joe Biden moved to transfer the money (or half of it) the United States holds on behalf of the Afghan people to an account in Switzerland, but we shouldn't hold our breath as we see that money returned to its rightful owners.

When the Taliban regained power more than a year ago, the United States had $7 billion in Afghan money. Initially the moral tutelage offered by the Biden administration on this subject was weak and hardly convincing, and he even suggested that it should be given to the families of 9/11 victims in exchange for legal fees to prosecute the Taliban in international courts.

But President Biden did not think that the families of the victims would respond in a different way, telling him to give this money to the Afghan people. And only a few weeks away from the midterm elections, the president appears to have thought that threatening to return the money to the Afghans would bring him Muslim voters in the United States and vote for his party. Hence the step of transferring half of the money to an account in a Swiss bank so that it is a deposit under the supervision of officials from Switzerland and the United States.


Of course, many will question the sincerity of the intention of this step. For Afghans, this money is needed to revive the health sector and pay salaries. But it seems that President Biden will not let this money go unconditionally. These conditions center around the need for the central bank in Kabul to distance itself from the Taliban, and to replace a number of officials. These conditions, given the strength and influence of the Taliban, are preposterous.

Biden may want to play a long game and hope to accelerate the country's deterioration, as happened in the late 1990s, when the Taliban began to splinter and civil war erupted. In this scenario, there is no doubt that this money will then be given to international relief agencies to work to alleviate the chaos and malnutrition. In fact, a group of international and local NGOs recently expressed concerns about the state of the country's health sector and demanded the release of these funds.

President Biden's other argument to prevent the money from being released will be that with the Afghan economy collapsing there is always a clear concern that the Taliban will split and fight for power. In this scenario, terrorist groups in Afghanistan may align themselves with one faction in exchange for more freedom to operate in the country, which completely contradicts the international agreement signed by the Taliban in Doha in 2020.

The problem, according to the West, is exacerbated by the fact that the Taliban, for a fleeting moment after taking power, indicated that they were ready to take further conciliatory steps in their domestic political agenda. But contrary to what the West had hoped, it began implementing its strict policies on girls' education, and other issues.

Thus, Biden's speech can be placed roughly in the context of bribery because it demonstrates the possibility of transferring money, but a number of strict conditions must be respected.

One view of this equation is that it is an opportunity for the Taliban to demonstrate its ability to work with the West. Another view is that the Americans are playing a cheap game to assert hegemony, and to give President Biden an initiative that bolsters his seemingly weak and ineffective foreign policy image.

Of course, it will be believed that the initiative is completely fake and outrageous because it comes in a situation in which the country is collapsing, and that President Biden himself would be happy if the Taliban government fell, and Afghanistan later turned to seek help from the West in everything, including help in governing.

The problem is that America's tainted legacy in Afghanistan is based on lies and deceit, and Biden has lost a lot of face due to the sudden withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Today he comes to use this money as a tool for political pressure, not as a humanitarian act.

The consequences of this wrong and hypocritical decision will be to achieve what America fears, namely, the rapprochement of anti-American groups with the Taliban. This seems inevitable, not just a vague weakness in US foreign policy. Afghanistan is not only a graveyard of empires, but a gravestone to the integrity of American foreign policy.


Writer
Martin Jay
An award-winning British journalist. He has worked with international organizations such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, TRT
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