| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Unfreeze Afghan assets abroad, neighbor Uzbekistan says

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev urged other nations on Friday to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets kept in foreign banks to facilitate dialogue with the Taliban government in Kabul.

Following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has said any central bank assets the Afghan government has in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.

The International Monetary Fund has said Afghanistan will not have access to the lender’s resources.

Speaking at a meeting of a China- and Russia-led security bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Mirziyoyev, whose country borders Afghanistan, called for talks between the bloc and the Taliban and for efforts to prevent the rise of extremism.

Unfreezing Afghan assets, he said, could help achieve those goals.

“Considering the humanitarian situation, we propose looking into the possibility of lifting the freeze on Afghanistan’s accounts in foreign banks,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at the same meeting through a video link, also called for contacts between the SCO and Kabul, although he did not mention any other concrete steps such as releasing Afghan assets.

The bloc held its meeting in Tajikistan, another former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan. Its leaders said they were beginning the process of accepting Iran into the organization which also includes India and Pakistan.

  • Reuters