Even though the Afghans had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, Washington decided to withhold half of the roughly US$7-billion in assets from for compensation for U.S. victims.
U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to divert billions of dollars in frozen Afghan assets to the families of 9/11 victims is rubbing salt into the wounds of millions of suffering Afghan people.
Couching the theft as "aid" in a self-righteous statement, the White House claimed the haul is "to be used to benefit the Afghan people," and that the U.S. is "committed to supporting the Afghan people" and continues to "consider all options available to us to achieve that goal."
And even though the people of Afghanistan had nothing to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Washington decided to withhold half of the roughly US$7-billion in assets from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) for alleged compensation for U.S. victims.
Following its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, the U.S. frozen over US$9 billion of DAB assets. The move is widely seen as the primary factor leading to the current economic crisis and humanitarian disaster in the war-torn Asian country of some 39 million people. Mohammad Naeem, a spokesperson of the Taliban political office in Qatar, tweeted that "stealing the blocked funds of Afghan nation by the United States and its seizure is indicative of the lowest level of human and moral decay of a country and a nation."
The world's wealthiest superpower is stealing from the pockets of a poor country, repeating a history of theft that has trampled on legal, moral and humanistic principles. In the military campaign that lasted 20 years, over 30,000 civilians in Afghanistan were killed by U.S. forces or have died due to U.S.-led warfare, and some 11 million people have been displaced.
The day before the evacuation from Afghanistan, a U.S. drone strike on a Kabul home in August 2021 killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The people of Afghanistan, who have been devastated and separated from their loved ones and their families, cannot hold the U.S. military accountable, let alone receive compensation.
As Afghan political analyst Nazari Pariani noted, in the so-called "war on terror" led by the United States, not only were a colossal number of Afghan civilians killed, the number of Afghanistan's terrorist organizations increased from a single-digit number to more than 20 during the U.S. military presence. Instead of uprooting terrorism, the U.S. had been fanning it.
A report released in August 2021 by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said that the United States had invested US$145 billion in Afghanistan's reconstruction. But after 20 years, Afghanistan is left with a depleted economy, crumbling infrastructure, backward industry and a worsening crisis.
Before the troop withdrawal in 2021, statistics showed that 72 percent of the Afghan population lived below the poverty line, unemployment was 38 percent and 3.5 million children were out of school.
The reason why the U.S. had so little success in rebuilding Afghanistan is simple: the funds deployed were not used to improve the livelihoods of the Afghan people. About 12 percent of U.S. reconstruction aid to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2021 had gone to the Afghan government, with most of the rest going into the pockets of U.S. companies.
Afghanistan is facing "an avalanche of hunger and poverty." The latest statistics from the United Nations World Food Program show that 22.8 million Afghans face acute food insecurity, and many families can not survive.
From casualties and inflicting trauma to fanning terrorism and looting the country's assets, Washington seems utterly oblivious to the suffering of the Afghan people, taking on a "moral high ground" and once again plundering the starving Afghan people of live-saving cash without a tinge of guilt. It is the latest episode in yet another season of the U.S. wrecking havoc on Afghanistan, a tragedy that is truly a silent massacre.