People have staged a demonstration in Kabul on Tuesday to protest US President Joe Biden’s order releasing $3.5 billion in Afghan assets held in the US for families of 9/11 claimants.
The demonstrators chanted slogans and carried placards reading "Stop Enmity with the Afghan People" and "9/11 Has Nothing to Do with the Afghan People", denouncing Biden’s decision to confiscate funds from Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves.
The protesters demanded that not only should the Afghan money go back to the Afghan people but the US and its allies should also compensate for killing thousands of civilians and destroying their properties over the past 20 years.
Similar demonstrations also took place in the northern state of Faryab and the eastern city of Jalalabad, according to reports.
Demonstrators in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, chanted slogans calling Biden's decision "cruel and unjust".
Angry demonstrators called on the international community to unfreeze all the assets frozen by the US, its allies and the international aid agencies.
The White House announced on Friday that the US Treasury plans to distribute half of the $7-billion Afghan funds frozen in the US banks among the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Washington also claimed that the other half would be allocated for humanitarian aid.
The Biden administration has frozen assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank since the withdrawal of its occupation forces from the country in August 2021, spawning one of the world’s most rapidly growing humanitarian crises.
The world body had earlier warned that millions of Afghans could run out of food and around one million children were at the risk of starvation and death.
Many of the US allies and Western governments have also largely suspended their financial assistance to Afghanistan since the US troop withdrawal and the Taliban takeover last year, triggering the rapid collapse of public finances.
Afghanistan’s Central Bank called on Biden to reverse his order and release the funds, saying in a statement Saturday that they belonged to the people of Afghanistan.
The decision by the US to block Afghan funds came as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday that Afghanistan was “hanging by a thread," as millions struggle to survive and with education and social services on the brink of collapse.
Almost five months after the US-led international coalition hastily abandoned the South Asian country, millions of Afghans are on the brink of starvation, with no food and no money.