President Biden has signed an Executive Order releasing $7 billion in frozen Afghan funds, splitting it between U.S. families impacted by terrorism, including the 9/11 attack, and humanitarian aid. The order blocks all property and interests of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) that are held in the United States, transferring the blocked property into an account at the Federal Reserve Bank in Afghanistan.
The Taliban took over DAB, Afghanistan’s central bank, and claimed the money. But because of counter-terrorism sanctions, it is illegal to engage in business with the organization. In addition, the United States does not recognize the Taliban as the ruling government of Afghanistan.
“The Taliban’s forced takeover made the already frail economic situation worse,” the White House wrote. “The International Monetary Fund estimates that Afghanistan faces an economic contraction of 30%, and many of the senior officials and technical experts needed to provide sound economic management have fled the country as a result of the Taliban’s actions.”
Under the Executive Order, the White House will work to release $3.5 billion of the assets to help Afghan people. Another $3.5 billion will stay in the United States, going to families impacted by terrorism.
“Many U.S. victims of terrorism, including relatives of victims who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, have brought claims against the Taliban and are pursuing DAB assets in federal court,” the White House wrote. “Because some of these plaintiffs currently have writs of execution against the DAB assets, the court will need to issue a further decision regarding the scope of those writs.”