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Trust managing Afghan central bank reserves meets to discuss options

The trust fund based in Switzerland, which manages the frozen assets of the Afghan central bank, has held its second meeting to discuss potential options for disbursing funds in a manner that aligns with achieving monetary stability, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Held virtually last month, according to Shah Mehrabi, one of the trustees of the funds, they considered disbursement options to help reduce volatility in exchange rates in Afghanistan and achieve financial stability.

Shah Mehrabi, who serves on the Afghan central bank (Da Afghanistan Bank)’s Supreme Council, told Reuters that the fund should only be used to provide monetary stability in the Afghan economy. 

Mehrabi said he was “against the funds being used to make payments for electricity, paying off Afghanistan’s loans at multilateral institutions and other payments the state should be responsible for.”

Last year, half of Afghanistan’s frozen reserves were transferred from Washington to Switzerland under the “Fund for the Afghan People,” where U.S. officials say they will be protected from the Taliban. The trust currently holds $3.5 billion in assets, including $36 million in interest earned since the assets were frozen in 2021 and an additional $34 million in interest since the transfer in September.

The remaining half of the money remained in the US subject to a lawsuit by victims of the 9/11 attacks. 

On 22 February, a judge in New York ruled that the 9/11 victims were not authorised to seize assets belonging to the Afghan central bank. The judge ruled that the money did not belong to the Taliban, who had hosted Osama bin Laden.

“The Taliban – not the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Afghan people – must pay for the Taliban’s liability in the 9/11 attacks,” the judge said.