Taliban appeal to U.S. Congress to release Afghan assets

Taliban appeal to U.S. Congress to release Afghan assets

The Taliban (movement banned in Russia) called Wednesday on U.S. Congress members to release Afghan assets frozen after their takeover of the country, warning economic turmoil at home could lead to trouble abroad.

In an open letter, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the biggest challenge facing Afghanistan was financial insecurity, "and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government".

"I present to you our compliments and would like to share a few thoughts on our bilateral relations," Muttaqi wrote, noting that 2021 was the centenary of Washington recognising Afghanistan's sovereignty.

In measured understatement, he added: "Akin to other world countries, our bilateral relations have also experienced ups and downs."

Muttaqi said Afghanistan was enjoying stable government for the first time in over 40 years. "Practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency," Muttaqi wrote. "No threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation."

Muttaqi said Afghans "understand the concerns of the international community", but that it was necessary for all sides to take positive steps to build trust.

He warned, however, that the economic situation could spark a mass exodus. "If the current situation prevails, the Afghan government and people will face problems and will become a cause for mass migration in the region and world which will consequently create further humanitarian and economic issues," AFP cited him as saying.

Washington has seized nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank, and the aid-dependent economy has effectively collapsed - with civil servants unpaid for months and the treasury unable to pay for imports.

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