By John Ikani
Deputy United States Treasury Secretary, Wally Adeyemo on Tuesday said he sees no situation where the Taliban, who regained power in Afghanistan in August, would be allowed access to Afghan Central Bank reserves, which are largely held in the United States.
“We believe that it’s essential that we maintain our sanctions against the Taliban but at the same time find ways for legitimate humanitarian assistance to get to the Afghan people. That’s exactly what we’re doing,” Adeyemo told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.
The Taliban took back power in Afghanistan in August after the United States pulled out its troops, almost 20 years after the Islamists were ousted by US-led forces following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Following the takeover, the Taliban have called for the United States to lift a block on more than $9 billion of Afghan central bank reserves held outside the country, as the government struggles to contain a deepening economic crisis.
Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large in Afghanistan. They are trying to work out how to engage with the Taliban without granting them the legitimacy they seek, while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.
“Our goal is to make sure that we are implementing our sanctions regime against the Taliban and the Haqqani network, but at the same time allowing for the permissible flow of humanitarian assistance into the country,” Adeyemo said.