Daily Evacuation Brief | February 12, 2022
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LAST 24 HOURS:
Explosion at a Mosque in Qala-e-Naw kills one and injures fifteen others. ISIS-K are suspected to be behind the attack.
More foreign journalists detained in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden agrees to release $7 billion for Afghanistan but will divide it between victims of the 9/11 attacks and humanitarian aid for the Afghan people.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
Some of the Western hostages being held by the Taliban are expected to be released. It is unclear whether the Taliban or criminal actors were the ones who first abducted and now hold the hostages.
The UK humanitarian envoy is expected to make a report about the climate in Kabul after the UK’s recent trip.
Expect increased security patrolling in the wake of the mosque bombing.
DETERMINING THE FATE OF AFGHANISTAN’S FROZEN FOREIGN ASSETS
CONTEXT: The Biden administration announced a controversial decision on the fate of the $7 billion of Afghan reserves that are currently held by the US government. They determined that half would be put into a trust fund in order to give aid to the Afghan people, and the other half would be reserved for now for potential recompense for 9/11 victims that have been awarded damages from the Taliban via the US court system.
DISCUSSION: The public reaction has been largely negative. Criticism has abounded regarding US “seizure” of funds that are argued to belong exclusively to the Afghan people, especially in this time of dire need. In particular, the public is frustrated that the Afghan people are being denied urgent humanitarian relief and essentially being held responsible for the events of 9/11 even though, as one of our Afghan colleagues pointed out, “…there was not a single Afghan aboard any of those four planes on 9/11.”
The legal background and justification for the diversion of the funds is somewhat more complex. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, many families and legal representatives of victims began legal proceedings in an attempt to obtain some sort of accountability. Some of these lawsuits targeted the Taliban, and in 2012 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York determined that one group, the Havlish plaintiffs, were owed $6 billion in damages by the Taliban.
Given the largely symbolic nature of the decision and the fact that the Taliban were out of power, the lawsuit was largely set aside. However, after the Taliban takeover, the Havlish plaintiffs felt they had a potential pathway to compensation. Within two weeks of Kabul falling, they requested that a writ of execution be served to the Federal Reserve of New York, the bank where Afghan reserves are held, in order to exert their legal claim over the funds. This request was granted on the basis that the Taliban owed the Havlish plaintiffs $6 billion, the Taliban now owned the government funds, and thus the plaintiffs had a claim to the frozen assets.
The legal reasoning here is far from clean cut, but the Biden administration has decided to be cautious with distributing the frozen funds back to the Afghan people while the 9/11 victims' claims to the assets are processed through the courts.
Much to the Biden administration’s chagrin, these complexities are not being discussed, and the optics remain very poor. The decision is a gift to the Taliban PR machine and will be trumpeted throughout the country as being emblematic of American ignorance and selfishness. Anti-US sentiment may rise in many corners of the world.
It is unclear what will happen to the remaining $3.5 billion in reserves if they are not granted to 9/11 victims following court proceedings. It is possible that the funds would then be given back to the Afghan people.
Also of note is the remaining $2 billion of reserve funds that remain frozen in other countries around the world. Once the United States begins freeing up assets domestically, other countries may soon follow suit.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 92.07 AFN (as of 12 FEB 2022)
At Least One Dead In Blast At Mosque In Afghanistan
By Radio Free Europe
The Taliban says at least one person was killed and eight others wounded in a bomb explosion at a mosque in…
Former BBC reporter ‘kidnapped by Taliban’ – ex-Afghan VP
By RT News
Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Afghanistan, says the Taliban “kidnapped” nine foreign nationals from…
Turkey sends over 920 tonnes of aid in second train to Afghanistan
By TRT World
A second "charity train" carrying 921 tonnes of emergency goods to Afghanistan under the coordination of Türkiye's government, has departed from the Turkish capital Ankara.…
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Turkmenistan resigns from post
By Amina Nazarli – Trend
Khan Wali Khan Basharmal, an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Afghanistan in Turkmenistan, has resigned…
China and the Taliban are flirting. But how serious is this relationship?
By Mujtaba Haris – The New Arab
Historically, China and Afghanistan have had concord and discord. The two countries established diplomatic relations on January 20, 1955, and their bilateral ties…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
Biden to split frozen Afghan funds between 9/11 families, aid
By Al Jazeera
The administration of United States President Joe Biden is planning to split $7bn in frozen Afghan funds between…
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