The US State Department said yesterday that there is no plan to give 3.5 billion dollars to the Central Bank of Afghanistan under the management of the Taliban out of nearly 7 billion dollars of frozen assets in Afghanistan.
Ned Price, the spokesman of the US State Department, told reporters in Washington yesterday that they are looking for ways to make this money directly benefit the Afghans.
After the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan, the US is worried that this money may end up in the hands of terrorist groups.
Ned Price pointed out this issue during his speech: “The presence of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, while the Haqqani network was aware of it, reinforces the deep concerns we have about the possible placement of this money in the hands of terrorist groups. Now we are looking for ways to make the impact and benefits of $3.5 billion reach the people of Afghanistan, a way that terrorist groups and others do not benefit from it.”
But Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban government, this morning while talking to Radio Azadi, once again demanded that this money should be released.
“The Americans should release this money, it is a separate issue that they attacked in the territory of Afghanistan, we condemned it and efforts are being made to prevent it from happening again.”
Meanwhile, Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, in his recent interview with CNN, considered the distribution of this Afghan money to the victims of September 11 as a wrong thing: “Taking money from one victim and giving it to another victim is a wrong thing. It is especially wrong to take money from one very poor and oppressed victim and give it to another victim, this money is from Afghans, it is not from any government, a large part of this money was collected during my government. It is, but this money is not the Karzai government or any other government, it is the money of the Afghans and the United States of America must return this money to the Afghans.”
The fear of the United States is clearly that the frozen assets of Afghanistan in the United States, which are close to seven billion, will not fall into the hands of Afghan terrorist groups in Afghanistan, especially when Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the Al-Qaeda network, was killed in Kabul.
But the Taliban have said that they have no information regarding Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence and death in Kabul, and they are investigating the matter. But Ned Price, the spokesman of the US State Department, responded to these statements by the Taliban and said that they are sure that al-Zawahiri was in Kabul and there are reliable documents that he was killed in their attack.
Mr. Price added, the Taliban can say anything, but telling the truth is not in their interest.
In his press conference on Monday, the spokesperson of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs also spoke about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and added that the longest war in the history of the US has ended and now they are in a better and stronger position than before.