News Release

Calls for U.S. to Unfreeze Afghan Funds

An earthquake in Afghanistan has killed at least 1,000 people.

ZAHER WAHAB, zwahab@lclark.edu
Professor emeritus at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education, Wahab was senior adviser to the education ministry in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006. He was featured on an IPA news release earlier this year: “Facing Starvation and Sanctions, How Does Afghanistan Move Forward?

ROSSELLA MICCIO, FRANCESCA BOCCHINI, via David Lloyd Webber, david.lloydwebber@emergency.it
Miccio is president of the group EMERGENCY. Bocchini is advocacy manager for the organization which last month released the report: “How to guarantee humanitarian aid to the Afghan people after August 2021?

Based in Italy, EMERGENCY provides free, high-quality healthcare to victims of war, poverty and landmines, alongside building hospitals and training local medical staff. EMERGENCY has treated over 12 million people in 20 countries and currently operates in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Italy, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen.

The recent report states: “The Taliban takeover in August 2021 marked a new phase of a complex and severe economic crisis. The de facto government’s international isolation, the sudden cessation of grant inflows, freezing of central bank assets in the U.S. ($7 billion) and in Europe ($2.1 billion), the imposition of sanctions, the subsequent paralysis of the Afghan Central Bank (DAB), and the breakdown of international banking relationships caused economic output over the last months of 2021 to decline by one-third.”

EMERGENCY recommends:

•   “It is essential to support the UN Secretary General’s appeal for a creative, flexible and constructive engagement with the de facto authorities, placing the needs of the Afghan people first.

•   “The international community should fill the $2 billion funding gap left after the recent UN appeal for Afghanistan. Funds should be integrated, multi-annual, fast and flexible.

•   “Afghan reserve funds should be unfrozen. Technical assistance to restore the role of the Afghanistan Central Bank as an independent institution and financial regulator should be guaranteed.

•   “It is urgent to reactivate Kabul International Airport to ensure the prompt delivery of humanitarian aid.

•   “Investing in health must be a priority in order to give the Afghan population a future, rebuilding essential services and offering jobs, including to women.

•   “To make the healthcare system more resilient it is vital to invest in health infrastructure and to make education at all levels accessible for all, including women and girls. Investments in higher education and capacity building programmes should be strengthened in terms of quality and quantity.”