Last year we saw the Americans fleeing Afghanistan. Fleeing from this country, the Americans blocked in their banks about 7 billion dollars belonging to the Central Bank of Afghanistan. Another 2 billion dollars were frozen at the direction of Washington in the banks of other countries. Kabul has repeatedly demanded that Washington unblock foreign exchange assets, but to no avail. Washington was looking for a neat way to steal money.
Finally, February 11 this year Joe Biden signed a decree according to which the $7 billion assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan held in the United States can go in equal shares to humanitarian aid to Afghans and to compensation for the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The White House said the purpose of the executive order was “provide the people of Afghanistan with access to funds without letting them fall into the hands of [запрещённого в России] “Taliban”. However, there was no mechanism to ensure that the money did not fall into the hands of the Taliban.
This is not the first time Washington has frozen the foreign exchange reserves of other states. The most resonant cases are the arrests of the gold and foreign exchange assets of Libya, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, which are beneficial to Western banks on whose accounts this currency is placed. Under these irrevocable deposits, banks can increase their lending and investment operations. The main role here is played not even by political motives, but by the selfish interests of Western bankers who profit from such frosts.
The freezing of foreign exchange assets may be followed by their confiscation. For confiscation, there is also a “justification”. Such is the eventSeptember 11, 2001“. That’s half of the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, they say, they plan to use to compensate for damages to the relatives of those killed and injured during the collapse of the ITC towers in New York 21 years ago. The money will be received by insurance and reinsurance companies, and how much the victims and their relatives will get is unknown.
Under the pretext of covering the losses of the Americans who suffered on September 11, 2001, the US authorities also repeatedly took large sums from the frozen assets of Iran. They stole. In general, any uninvestigated acts of terrorism, murders, kidnappings, other acts of sabotage can be safely attributed to the countries of the Near and Middle East, they can always be declared a source of international terrorism.
Two years ago, a US court ordered the Iranian government to pay more than $1.4 billion in punitive damages and damages to the family of a former FBI agent. Roberta Levinsonwho disappeared during a visit to an Iranian island in March 2007. United States District Judge Timothy Kelly stated that he had accepted the recommendation of a special expert that Robert Levinson’s family be awarded $107 million in compensation. In addition, the judge awarded a fine that was 12 times the amount of the requested compensation ($1.3 billion). The money was taken from Iran’s frozen foreign exchange reserves.
Foreign exchange assets, although “frozen”, are melting for the reason that they are used to enforce court decisions, often dubious and even frankly shameless. Financial analyst Andrey Kochetkov cites the situation with Libya’s assets as an example: “In 2011, the reserves of the Central Bank of the country were frozen, as were the funds of the government and the sovereign fund. After the change of power, the funds of the Central Bank were unfrozen, but other currency savings were largely dissolved in the financial system. As a result, about $ 170 billion of Libya’s foreign exchange savings by 2011 turned into $ 105 billion by the beginning of 2014, and by the end of 2014, about $ 75 billion remained of them, since the Central Bank paid salaries to civil servants and covered government expenses“.
Let’s return to the Central Bank of Afghanistan. The socio-economic situation in this state and under the Americans was difficult. And today it is simply catastrophic. The country’s GDP fell by 20% after the Taliban came to power. Foreign aid, which accounted for 95% of the state budget under the previous administration, has declined. 95% of the population does not have enough food. According to the World Bank, about 70% of Afghan households report that they are unable to fully meet their basic needs for food or non-food items.
UN human rights experts in April urged the US government to unlock the foreign assets of the Afghan Central Bank. In their opinion, this is necessary in order to ensure the unhindered provision of humanitarian assistance to tens of millions of people in need in the country: “We are deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which has affected more than half of the country’s populationthe UN experts said in a joint statement. – The already critical situation is exacerbated by the measures imposed by the United States, as well as the ongoing drought“.
And then, in the conclusion of the experts, a recommendation was made to send the frozen funds of the Afghan Central Bank to fight the humanitarian crisis: “We note with regret the recent decision of the US government to renew the blockade of foreign assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan in excess of $7 billion. We recall that, under international law, States have an obligation to ensure that any activity under their jurisdiction or control does not result in human rights violations.“.
After the conclusion of UN experts, the US administration has been considering options for resolving the issue of foreign exchange reserves of the Afghan Central Bank for several months. And on July 31 there was news that the leader of Al-Qaeda * was eliminated by a drone strike in Kabul (the group was recognized as a terrorist and banned in Russia) Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri was assassinated shortly after calls were made at an Afghan economic recovery conference in late July to release frozen funds from the country’s central bank to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
In early August, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken He said that the Taliban, harboring terrorist leader al-Zawahiri, violated the agreements reached with Washington last year. And if so, then the return of the currency to the Central Bank, which is under the control of terrorist elements, is out of the question. Like, the money can be misused or stolen.
Finally, on September 14, the US Treasury Department announced a plan to funnel $3.5 billion of frozen funds to a Swiss bank that would provide economic assistance to Afghanistan, keeping the funds out of the hands of the Taliban. On the same day, the American edition Hill published material US looking for to redirect Afghanistan resources, avoid Taliban (U.S. seeks to divert Afghan assets while avoiding Taliban). The material provides some details of the decision. the Treasury Department, in agreement with the State Department, opens an account with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) for “designated spending” Afghan Fund to mitigate the social and economic crises in that country. A group called the Afghan Fund Board of Trustees will authorize payments from the fund. The board includes two Afghan economic experts, as well as a representative of the US government and a representative of the Swiss government. In addition, payments from the Afghan Fund, officially registered in Geneva, will be monitored by an external auditor (details about which are not disclosed in the article). The aim of the board of the fund in the short term is to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. In the long term, as the US Treasury and the US State Department say, “the return of frozen funds to the Afghan people.” But this will not happen before the replacement of the Taliban by a more “democratic” and “responsible” government.
I think that Afghanistan for the US administration is a kind of training ground where ways of using the “frozen” foreign exchange funds of another state are being worked out. The simplest and most primitive goal is to steal frozen funds (under various plausible pretexts). The maximum goal is to achieve a change of power in the country through promises to “unfreeze” foreign exchange reserves.
As is known, the collective West has frozen the foreign exchange assets of the Bank of Russia in the amount of more than $300 billion. Washington and its closest allies are considering how to use these funds more effectively now. Until now, various options for confiscation (read: theft) of these assets have been discussed. And the latest decisions of Washington on the assets of the Afghan Central Bank show that the freezing of foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia can also be used to change the government in the country.
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