Diverting $3.5 billion for 9/11 victims is theft, says expert

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Biden signed an order to free $7 billion out of more than $9 billion frozen Afghan assets, splitting the money between aid for Afghanistan and a fund for 9/11 victims…reports Asian Lite News

A Washington-based scholar has slammed the Biden administration’s decision to divert the frozen Afghan assets for 9/11 victims.

This comes as a combination of a suspension of foreign aid, the freezing of Afghan government assets, and international sanctions on the Taliban have plunged the country, already suffering from high poverty levels, into a full-blown economic crisis.

On Friday, Biden signed an executive order to free $7 billion out of more than $9 billion frozen Afghan assets, splitting the money between humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and a fund for 9/11 victims.

Writing for The Washington Examiner, Michael Rubin said victims of al Qaeda terrorism deserve compensation, but the Afghan reserves belong to the Afghans who fought with the U.S. and against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“Diverting $3.5 billion for 9/11 victims is theft. Certainly, the victims of al Qaeda terrorism deserve compensation, but the Afghan reserves belong to the Afghans who fought with the U.S. and against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Biden’s willingness to paint all Afghans as responsible for 9/11 is factually wrong if not racist,” said Rubin, who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

“The trust fund may also sound noble, but it is problematic. The Taliban diverts aid to its supporters and uses it to pay Afghans for labour. In both cases, those who served the previous regime or helped Americans need not apply. Rather than condemn such diversions, the White House is silent,” he added.

According to Rubin, this decision should not come as surprise. “In 1994, Washington faced a similar problem in North Korea. To alleviate famine and facilitate diplomacy, President Bill Clinton agreed to provide both food aid and heavy fuel oil to the communist regime. Kim Jong-il’s regime diverted it to fund the army while ordinary citizens starved.”

US State Department on Tuesday explained an executive order passed by President Joe Biden last week, relating to the people of Afghanistan, which was a step toward making USD 3.5 billion of funds accessible to the Afghan people.

“People of Afghanistan are facing numerous challenges including dependence on economic aid, severe droughts, COVID-19, internal corruptions and others. Afghan Central Bank reserves hold that federal reserves have been inaccessible for months imparts because of the uncertainty regarding who can authorise transactions on the account. But also due to pending litigations by 9/11 victims and other victims of terrorism,” US State Department spokesperson New Price said.

Lauding the Biden administration, the US spokesperson said: “This administration will continue to support that victim and families recognising the enduring pain they have suffered in the hand of terrorists including those who were operating from Afghanistan prior to the September 11 attacks.”

“We have no idea how long the allegation will take and in the meantime, the humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate by the debt. That is why President Biden signed the Executive Order on Friday to preserve and protect those reserves as part of an effort to make 3.5 billion dollars available for the Afghan people,” he explained.

The State Department spokesperson said that the objective is to make these funds available for the Afghan people without having to wait for the process to conclude.

Price also reiterate Friday’s executive order and said that “it was a step towards making a significant portion 3.5 billion dollars accessible to the Afghan people.

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