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This article appears in the October 1, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]


Stop the Genocidal Murder of Afghanistan
Unfreeze Afghanistan’s $9 Billion

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Left: CC/Brookings Institution; right: NARA
Actions by Janet Yellen (left) and the New York Federal Reserve Bank embargoing Afghan assets are a crime against humanity on the scale of the crimes tried at Nuremberg after World War II.

Sept. 24—The imperial establishment of the U.S.-NATO Trans-Atlantic coalition created a murderous bloodbath in Afghanistan, killing tens of thousands, wasting trillions of dollars, destabilizing the region, and having less than nothing to show for it 20 years later.

Now that establishment is choking what is left of the fragile Afghan economy by withholding—either directly or through financial means—the food, fuel, electricity, and development the nation so desperately needs. But what 20 years of military might could not achieve, will likewise not result from financial force.

On August 15, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen froze the $9 billion of assets of the nation of Afghanistan held in the United States, with the result of undercutting the necessary economic activity of that country. This has continued for the past six weeks, with the U.S. Treasury in effect exerting colonial dominion over Afghanistan like a British colonial currency board administrator in Africa, Asia, or South America. This is preventing Afghanistan’s few financial resources from being used to serve day-to-day transactions, and further potential development initiatives in cooperation with Central Asian neighbors.

This administrative fascism, killing people with the stroke of a pen, must be condemned under the American legal principle of “depraved indifference.” Nazis were convicted of such crimes at the post World War II Nuremburg Trials under the principle of “known or should have known.” No government officials can defend themselves claiming that they are simply carrying out orders, or merely following standard procedures.

Development is the Name for Peace

According to Ajmal Ahmady, the Ghani government’s head of Afghanistan’s central bank (the Da Afghanistan Bank, DAB) at the time the Taliban took over Kabul, Afghanistan had approximately $7 billion in assets at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. These consisted of $3.1 billion in U.S. bills and bonds, $2.4 billion in World Bank Reserve assets, $1.2 billion in gold, and $300 million in cash. Afghanistan also had $1.5 billion in other assets, according to Ahmady’s tweet on August 21, held in “other international accounts” (apparently private banks in New York and London).

Ahmady added that Afghanistan was “reliant on obtaining physical shipments of cash every few weeks” from the New York Fed, in order to have any currency in the country for people to use. So, New York banks led by the Federal Reserve had complete colonial financial control of “our” government in Afghanistan, before the Taliban takeover.

The brutal action of the U.S. Treasury, freezing the funds as the government of Afghanistan collapsed, made the country’s subjection even worse. On August 15, as the Taliban forces approached Kabul, the Washington Post and other media reported that “the Biden Administration froze Afghan government reserves held in U.S. bank accounts…. The decision was made by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and officials in the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control…. An administration official said in a statement, ‘Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.’”

However: These are not assets of the Taliban; they are the assets of the nation of Afghanistan. These assets may have been held in banks in New York, but the U.S. government just assumed unilateral authority for disposition of them. That is the United States acting as if it were the nineteenth century British Empire. It is wrong; it is unconstitutional, and Americans should not tolerate it!

The same thing is true of the oil revenues of Iraq up to this time; they are deposited in the New York Federal Reserve Bank until used. Where NATO could not win or end its wars, the U.S. Treasury is being used to exercise colonial domination by financial seizure.

Afghanistan’s neighbors agree: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi have all called for the immediate release of the funds. Wang Yi told the September 22 G20 foreign ministers meeting that Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves are national assets that should belong to the country’s people and be used by its own people, and not be used as a bargaining chip to exert political pressure on Afghanistan.

China has expressed willingness to maintain communication with the leaders of the new Taliban government in Afghanistan, calling its establishment a “necessary step” in reconstruction. Hua Chunying, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said last month, “China respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny and is willing to continue to develop ... friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.” That followed Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen saying China “can play a very big role in the rebuilding, rehabilitation, reconstruction of Afghanistan.”

A Desperate Situation

David Beasley, director of the World Food Program has said that more than 90% of the people of Afghanistan are food insecure; 28 million are not eating enough; four million are facing death by starvation in the coming winter under present conditions. The Afghan Health Minister, Dr. Wahid Majrooh, said that after the so-called donor countries froze the humanitarian aid money to Afghanistan, more than 90% of the people have no access to medical supplies.

So you have people having not enough to eat, having no medical care, the banks have no money, people cannot buy anything, they can’t import—this is genocide! You can’t do this! In Afghanistan the lives of more than 90% of the people are in jeopardy. And what happens to Afghanistan is a warning for the future of humanity, because if we can’t solve these problems, it forebodes our own destiny.

Now is the time to give up colonialism and join in economic development. The assets of the Afghan nation, and the oil revenues of the Iraqi nation, must be ceded back to those sovereign nations.

President Franklin Roosevelt already made this commitment to the then-colonies of the European empires, in the Atlantic Charter and the UN Charter. And it is the “American System” method to follow through with high-technology industrial development.

Action, and Action Now

CALL or leave a message at the White House: 202-456-1414, or contact here. Demand that President Biden unblock all funds and assets of Afghanistan, and collaborate with Russia, China, and Pakistan, in a “peace through development” emergency infrastructure program.

CALL your Senator and Representative at 202-224-3121

GET THE WORD OUT to churches, labor, community associations, local officials, campuses

CIRCULATE Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s urgent call, “Can ‘The West’ Learn? What Afghanistan Needs Now!”

The United States, having withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan at last, has the opportunity and the responsibility to cooperate in rebuilding its crushed economy. This is how to really end perpetual wars: The United States, China, and Russia cooperate in bringing economic development, along with other nations in Asia.


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