US should return long-suffering Afghan people’s money: Karzai

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai (L) speaks to Iran’s Arabic-language news network al-Alam on March 8, 2022.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai expresses strong objection to the United States’ ongoing confiscation of billions of dollars of the Afghan central bank’s assets.

“The assets that the US has confiscated belong to the Afghan people. These assets used to buttress the central bank and Afghanistan’s coffers,” Karzai told Iran’s Arabic-language news network al-Alam on Tuesday.

“These assets do not belong to any certain government, but to the Afghan nation only,” he added.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank since the hasty withdrawal of its occupation forces from the country in August 2021.

On Wednesday, Deborah Lyons, the special representative of the United Nations secretary-general and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), warned that Afghanistan's economic collapse was "approaching a point of irreversibility."

“We hope that the US president changes his decision and returns the long-suffering Afghan people’s money,” Karzai urged.

US departure from Afghanistan

He also described the manner of America’s sudden departure from Afghanistan as “irresponsible.” “They definitely could have left in a better manner so that the Afghan people would not have suffered.”

He pointed to the trail of destruction left by the US at the Kabul airfield right before taking out its forces, saying, “We bore witness to some heart-wrenching scenes at the airfield that deeply upset the Afghan people. Unfortunately, the US’s departure from the country did not take place as it should.”

Iran’s role in Afghanistan

Unlike the United States—Iran has, over the past 20 years, enjoyed an unparalleled friendship with the Afghan people, Karzai said.

“Iran’s role in Afghanistan’s stability and peace and improvement of its economy is very remarkable,” he said adding, “The measures that Iran has taken concerning Afghanistan is a source of delight for us and our people, and we like for these measures to increase.”

Iran hosts millions of Afghan refugees. The number increased by hundreds of thousands in the wake of the United States’ pullout from the Central Asian country.

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