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IEA calls for release of frozen assets to prevent economic, humanitarian catastrophe

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(Last Updated On: November 22, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi called for the release of the country’s frozen assets on Sunday saying it belongs to all Afghans and a humanitarian catastrophe will be prevented by freeing up the foreign reserves.

“We have told the US that we (United States and IEA) are no longer in conflict. We (IEA) have not made any problems for the US after the Doha deal, so why have you (US) frozen the assets? There is no reason. Taliban [individuals] will not benefit from the money, it is related to the country’s economy and to the people,” said Muttaqi.

Over $9 billion is being held by the U.S after Washington froze Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the unexpected collapse of the former government.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid dependent economy.

However, the US and its allies, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that the money will only be released once the IEA has formed an inclusive government, and ensures the rights of minorities, women and girls, and prevents terrorist organizations from planning or launching attacks against foreign countries from Afghanistan.

Economic analysts have also said that the country’s assets will not be released until such time as the IEA is recognized internationally as the legitimate government.

“The money will not be released, there are legal problems; it means that the [former] republic government that was a legal entity handed over the money to the World Bank and US. They (US and World Bank) will hand over the money once the [new] government is recognized. If this government is not recognized and not accepted to the United Nations, the money will stay frozen,” said Sayed Massoud, an economic analyst.

Afghan citizens have meanwhile called on the US and IEA to resolve the problems, adding that the main victims of the sanctions are the people.
“They (US) should talk with this government and should reach an agreement to put an end to the economic and humanitarian crisis,” said Quyyam, a Kabul resident.

“We call on the US and IEA to work to release the money, in order to bring an end to the people’s economic problems,” said Mohammad Zabair, another Kabul resident.

Last week, the IEA also sent a letter to the US Congress asking for the money to be released.

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Biden defiantly defends Afghanistan exit, makes ‘no apologies’

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday firmly defended the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said he makes no apologies.

Addressing a press conference, Biden said: “I make no apologies for what I did.”

His administration drew criticism for the way troops were withdrawn and the sudden collapse of the previous government.

Biden suggested Wednesday there was nothing else that could have been done to bolster Afghan allies.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said.

“It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity.”

He also suggested it was not the responsibility of the U.S. to fix Afghanistan’s challenges, The Week reported.

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Pakistan played major role in peace, stability of Afghanistan: Arif Alvi

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi has said that Pakistan played a major role in the peace and stability in Afghanistan and that Islamabad made sure Kabul was not isolated.

Alvi said in a media interview, that during the recent Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit he told its members that Pakistan saved Afghanistan from being isolated.

He also stated that during the extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC in Islamabad, Pakistan, in December, he portrayed the actual picture of the war-torn country.

He also said the world has recognized Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiatives.

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ILO estimates underscore Afghanistan employment crisis

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(Last Updated On: January 20, 2022)

Job losses in Afghanistan following the change in administration in August 2021 totaled more than half a million in the third quarter and may reach 900,000 by mid-2022, according to new estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

According to the ILO, the estimated 14% loss by mid-2022 reflects workers pushed out of employment due to the change in administration and ensuing economic crisis as well as restrictions on women’s participation in the workplace.

The total number of hours worked in the Afghan economy is estimated to have dropped by 13% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a hypothetical scenario with no change in administration.

The ILO said key sectors have been devastated since the collapse of the former government including agriculture, the civil service and the construction industry which have all seen large-scale job losses or workers go unpaid.

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