The Taliban regime in Afghanistan is demanding for the release of billions of dollars in assets abroad that are in the control of the Federal Reserve of the US and various central banks in Europe, Reuters reported 29 October, 2021.
The demand comes in the context of Afghanistan being on the brink of a famine, along with supplementary problems like migration and a society devoid of cash.
The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan parked billions of dollars abroad and that money has been frozen since the Taliban took over in August, overthrowing the Ashraf Ghani regime that was backed by the west.
With just under $10 billion in assets overseas and withdrawal restrictions being imposed by banks in Afghanistan, a catastrophic humanitarian disaster is around the corner, according to Al Jazeera.
"The situation is desperate and the amount of cash is dwindling" and it will only "keep Afghanistan going until the end of the year", according to Shah Mehrabi, board member of the Afghanistan's Central Bank (Da Afghanistan Bank) who Reuters spoke to.
European countries are being urged to release the funds because not doing so will create a problem that is feared by leaders all over the continent: mass migration.
"Europe is going to be affected most severely, if Afghanistan does not get access to this money", because there is "a double whammy of not being able to find bread and not being able to afford it", Mehrabi added.
He concluded that people in their desperation will flee to Europe.
The Taliban had announced two weeks ago that the US had agreed to provide aid to avert a humanitarian disaster in the Afghanistan.
The US however, was careful to state that it would provide robust humanitarian assistance directly to the Afghan people and that the talks and agreement on aid were not a shift in policy regarding how the US sees Taliban.
It is yet to recognise the Taliban government that is presently governing Afghanistan.
(With inputs from Reuters and Al Jazeera)