US to pursue talks with Afghanistan despite frustration with Taliban

Joe Biden’s administration will pursue talks with Afghanistan on releasing billions of dollars in Afghanistan’s foreign held assets despite it’s frustration with Taliban and Afghan Central Bank, according to sources.

US State Department and Treasury officials communicated their assent to independent analysts 12 days after a CIA strike that killed former Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The main motive behind this effort is to help stabilise Afghanistan’s economy and mitigate the effects of a humanitarian crisis that can result in acute hunger for over 40 million people in the country.

The plan involves transferring billions in foreign held Afghan Central Bank assets to Swiss based trust fund with the help of an international board that will bypass the Taliban. The plan has been discussed with Switzerland and involved parties.

According to a source, the strike in Kabul did not change US government’s commitment to set up an international fund. The Taliban and Afghan Central Bank, however, are not acting swiftly.

US, along with several other donors, halted aid to Afghanistan that funds 70% of its government budget after the seizure by Taliban. While Washington froze 7 billion dollars in Afghan assets, other countries hold Afghan assets amounting to 2 billion dollars.

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