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9/11: 20 Years Later
On 11 September 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed four passenger jets, destroying the World Trade Centre towers in New York and damaging the Pentagon. The attack killed almost 3,000 people and injured 25,000, prompting the launch of US-led military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Taliban Calls for Talks After Warning of ‘Policy Change’ Towards US Over Diversion of Frozen Funds

© Sputnik / Alexandr Graschenkov / Go to the mediabankView of Kabul, Afghanistan
View of Kabul, Afghanistan - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
The US’ decision to divert Afghanistan’s federal funds to families of victims of the 9/11 attacks has sparked widespread criticism, with Afghans demonstrating in Kabul to condemn the move. Beijing has also called for the decision to be rolled back, as it described the act as the “richest country in the world plundering the world’s poorest”.
The Taliban* has called for talks with the United States as the Islamist group tries to convince the Joe Biden administration to reverse its decision it made last week to divert half the frozen funds of Afghanistan's central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) to families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
The Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an interview with Bloomberg that the group would use every “diplomatic opportunity” to tell Washington to roll back its decision, which was passed by President Biden in an Executive Order on Friday, 11 February.
Mujahid’s remarks come a day after the group issued a strongly worded statement which described Washington’s move as “obvious aggression and oppression” against the people of Afghanistan, as the central Asian nation struggles to procure international aid to avert an impending humanitarian disaster.
“The 9/11 [terrorist attacks] had nothing to do with Afghans,” the Taliban said in its statement.

“If the United States does not stand down from its position and end its provocative actions, the Islamic Emirate will have to reconsider its policy towards that country,” the Taliban went on to warn.

At present, ties between the Taliban and the US are mainly dictated by the Doha Deal signed in February 2020. The Taliban has assured the US that it won’t let Afghanistan’s soil be used by foreign terrorist organisations which target Washington or its allies.
The Afghan central bank said in a release last week that the money held in the US belonged to the Afghan people and not any government.
Afghan Taliban's Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland attend the meeting at the Soria Moria hotel in Oslo, Norway January 25, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
Taliban Discussed Frozen Funds With US Treasury Officials in Norway, Kabul Says
According to a White House release last week, the Executive Order signed by President Biden will “facilitate access” of $3.5 billion of DAB’s frozen funds at present locked in various American financial institutions.
The White House said that the funds will be transferred to a “consolidated account” in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The frozen funds, transfer of which is conditional upon a “judicial decision”, will be used to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, including food security, hygiene and COVID-related assistance among others.

“Even if funds are transferred for the benefit of the Afghan people, more than $3.5 billion in DAB assets would remain in the United States and are subject to ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism,” the White House release said.

The US Treasury, back in August last year, froze more than $9 billion of Afghanistan’s federal funds at America-based global financial institutions. The decision was triggered by the Taliban storming to power in the country after the organisation took over Kabul on 15 August.
The Biden administration linked the unfreezing of Afghanistan’s funds to the Taliban making good on the commitments made during the signing of the Doha Peace deal, including forming an inclusive government with representation of all major ethnic groups and respecting the rights of women as well as other minorities.
However, the US government has since made certain relaxations and released some parts of Kabul’s federal funds to help the Afghans avert a humanitarian catastrophe.
US Senator Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks to striking Kellogg's workers in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan, on December 17, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.01.2022
Bernie Sanders Urges Biden to Unfreeze Kabul's Funds to Prevent 'Death of Millions of People'
Major international aid agencies, including the UN-backed World Food Programme (WFP), have been warning that Washington’s decision to freeze Afghanistan’s federal funds has fed into an inflationary crisis and drought, all of which threaten nearly 23 million Afghans with “acute hunger”.
The WFP also reckons that nearly 3 million children in Afghanistan are suffering from malnutrition.
The White House argued in the press release last week that, in spite of its decision to freeze Kabul’s federal assets, it still remained the country’s largest international donor since the Taliban’s August takeover.
* An organisation under UN sanctions for terrorist activities
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