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Financial Assistance to Afghanistan Put on Hold, Says Asian Development Bank

© AP Photo / Omid HaqjooA view of Sky Game Net, after it was closed, in Herat province, western Afghanistan, Monday, April 10, 2023.
A view of Sky Game Net, after it was closed, in Herat province, western Afghanistan, Monday, April 10, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.04.2023
No foreign government has officially recognised the *Taliban-led Afghan administration even after 20 months of its rule in Kabul, although a number of states, have maintained informal ties with the country.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has withheld financial assistance to Afghanistan since the Taliban* stormed back to power in Kabul in August 2021, an official of the Philippines-based lender was quoted as saying in a conversation with an Indian daily on Wednesday.

"The ADB maintains the hold it placed on its regular assistance in Afghanistan effective 15 August, 2021. ADB continues to consult with our shareholders and other stakeholders, and to monitor the situation in Afghanistan," a spokesperson for the regional financial institution stated.
The statement comes at a time when the Taliban is urging the global community to assist it in resolving the issue of Afghanistan's frozen assets.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is holding a press conference to discuss the results of Russian diplomacy in 2022 - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.04.2023
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"Considering the emergency situation in Afghanistan, it is necessary for the member countries of the United Nations to resolve the problem of frozen Afghan assets, banking, travel bans and other restrictions as soon as possible so that Afghanistan can progress in economic, political and security areas. Afghans have the capacity to stand on their own feet," Taliban's chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said last week.

Afghanistan's Frozen Billions

Billions of dollars worth of Afghan central bank assets remain frozen in the US and Europe at present. Roughly $7 billion belonging to the Afghan state coffers are said to be held by the Biden administration alone.
Of the total, $3.5 billion have been earmarked for the families of the victims of the 2001 NYC World Trade Center attacks, while the remainder has been deposited in a bank in Switzerland, where the US government has kept the sum frozen.

The Biden administration has used the frozen billions of dollars as a bargaining chip, claiming the money could be used for bankrolling terror activities in the war-torn country.

With its assets immobilized, Afghanistan's economy is reportedly struggling to stand on its own two feet. Given this scenario, global aid agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been helping ordinary Afghans, providing them with both food and healthcare.
The foreign minister in Afghanistan’s new Taliban-run Cabinet, Amir Khan Muttaqi, gives a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.04.2023
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UN Puts Taliban on Notice

However, since the Taliban began its second reign in Kabul, foreign agencies, including the UN, have warned the movement that aid would dry up if its policies toward women did not change.
The Taliban leadership has banned women from all forms of education, except for primary schooling, while barring them from all kinds of employment, both in the state and the private sectors.
On Tuesday, the UN mission in Afghanistan said that it was thinking about closing its office in the country next month following the Taliban's order, banning its female staff from working in the global body's office in Kabul.
"It is fair to say that where we are right now is the entire United Nations system having to take a step back and re-evaluating its ability to operate there," UNDP chief Achim Steiner said in a statement.
*under UN sanctions for terrorism
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