A White House press statement released on February 11, 2022 revealed that President Biden signed an executive order to use U.S.-based assets belonging to Afghanistan’ central bank for humanitarian purposes and also for pending court case involving survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. U.S. financial institutions will be required to transfer this property into a consolidated account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
About $3.5 billion of those assets will be used for the benefit of the Afghan people. Another $3.5 billion will be set aside for a pending a judicial decision on litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism.
The executive order will, in part, be used to ensure the funding of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. The details of how this will be done remains to be disclosed. This is an effort to provide assistance to the people of Afghanistan without having it pass through the hands of the Taliban. Prior to August 2021, Afghanistan’s economy was faltering. A two-year long drought had reduced crops to 40% of the usual yields, affecting the availability of the food supply. Corruption had put brakes on much of the economic activity and the government was dependent on international aid to function and provide services to the population. With the takeover of the Taliban the economy has contracted another 30%.
U.S. citizens who were victims of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 and the relatives of those victims who died in the attack are seeking compensation. They have brought claims against the Taliban and are pursuing Das Afghanistan Bank assets in federal court. So the remaining $3.5 billion of DAB assets will remain in the United States and are subject to ongoing litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism.
“FACT SHEET: Executive Order to Preserve Certain Afghanistan Central Bank Assets for the People of Afghanistan”, The White House, February 11, 2022.