The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, asked the United States and the World Bank again on Thursday (13/1/2020) to unfreeze Afghan funds withheld since the Taliban came to power, otherwise “the nightmare that is happening in Afghanistan.” It will only increase.
He called for “the suspension of the rules and conditions that prevent the use of funds to save lives and the economy in this emergency.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations said in a meeting with journalists organized two days after the organization called for more than $5,000 million to help the Afghan people.
“There is a large amount of frozen funds in the United States and other countries around the world,” Guterres added.
The World Bank was quoted as saying that in recent months, the funds had been opened but that “we have to do more to quickly inject liquidity into the economy and prevent a collapse that could lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions of people.”
Guterres noted that last month the World Bank collected $280 million from a fund designated for Afghanistan to be transferred to UNICEF and the World Food Program working in the country.
Deaf ears for Washington
“I hope the remaining resources – more than $1.2 billion – will be freed up to help the Afghan people survive the winter,” he said.
The Taliban also faces the US withholding $9.5 billion in reserves from Afghanistan’s central bank, equal to half of the country’s 2020 gross domestic product.
So far, Washington has turned a deaf ear to the demands of the Islamists who demand the release of these funds to restart the economy and fight a famine that threatens, according to the United Nations, 23 million Afghans, 55% of the population.
The UN Secretary-General stressed that his call is accompanied by an “urgent demand for Taliban leaders to recognize and protect the fundamental human rights of women and girls.”
He pointed out that “no country can prosper by depriving half of the population of its rights.”
“Humanitarian operations are in dire need of money and more flexibility. Freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a deadly combination for the Afghan people,” he warned.
According to him, helping the country operate “will give Afghans hope for the future, and a reason to stay in their country.”
mg (afp, efe)