EIR LEAD EDITORIAL FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2021
Reverse Janet Yellen’s Colonial Seizure of Afghan Funds, and Develop Afghanistan
Sept. 22, 2021 (EIRNS)—The statement of Sept. 5 by Schiller Institute Chairwoman Helga Zepp-LaRouche, “Can ‘The West’ Learn? What Afghanistan Needs Now!” has gotten wide circulation and support. It lays out that the United States, having withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan at last, has the opportunity and the responsibility to cooperate in rebuilding its crushed economy.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.
But a terrible decision made by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Aug. 15, and not reversed since, tries to make Afghanistan a basket case instead, a failed state, by seizing all its national financial assets. For the past six weeks Yellen’s Treasury has been holding 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 in developing the nation in cooperation with its Central Asian neighbors.
According to Ajmal Ahmady, the Ghani government’s governor of 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 Aug. 21, held in “other international accounts” (apparently private banks in New York and London).
Ahmady also said 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 the population to use. So New York banks led by the Fed also had complete colonial financial control of “our” government in Afghanistan, before the Taliban takeover. No surprise, then, when NATO forces withdrew, that Afghans showed they did think of it as their government, and abandoned it.
But Yellen’s brutal decision made the country’s subjection even worse—freezing the funds. Already on Aug. 17 it was reported in the Washington Post that on Aug. 15, as the Taliban forces approached Kabul, “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 were not assets of the Taliban; they are assets of the nation of Afghanistan. And the assets of this nation were held in banks in New York, with the U.S. government having unilateral authority for disposition of them. That is colonialism; it is wrong; 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 Treasury is trying to exercise colonial domination by financial seizure.
Afghanistan’s neighbors agree:
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the press he would say, at the UN General Assembly: “I think freezing the assets is not helping the situation. I would strongly urge the powers that be that they should revisit that policy and think of an unfreeze.”
Reuters headlined Sept. 17, “Unfreeze Afghan Assets Abroad, Neighbor Uzbekistan Says.” Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization heads of state/government summit on Sept. 17: “Considering the humanitarian situation, we propose looking into the possibility of lifting the freeze on Afghanistan’s accounts in foreign banks.”
The Biden Administration must give up colonialism and join in economic development.
Janet Yellen must abandon her usurped power as a colonial administrator. Both 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.