The Taliban is urging Congress to release Afghanistan’s assets

The Taliban is asking the US Congress to ease sanctions and release Afghanistan’s assets amid economic strife in the country.

Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday submitted a letter online that says, “US sanctions have destroyed not only trade and commerce but also humanitarian aid.”

“Right now, our people’s fundamental challenge is financial security, and the roots of that concern lead back to the U.S. government’s freezing of our people’s assets,” the letter to U.S. lawmakers said.

“Freezing assets and financial sanctions could damage health, education and other civil service systems,” it added.

The letter comes as World Food Program has warned that 8.7 million people in Afghanistan “face food insecurity at the emergency level.” The agency also noted that the crisis has only become “more complex and serious” since the Taliban took control of Kabul in August.

Earlier this month, the Taliban said it would prohibit the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan. Typically, areas near the country’s border will trade currencies from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, and US dollars were widely used in Afghan markets.

“The economic situation and national interests in the country require all Afghans to use Afghan currency in every trade,” the Taliban said at the time.

Billions of dollars worth of assets from the country being held abroad with the US Federal Reserve as well as with central banks in Europe has been frozen since the Taliban took power. While Afghanistan is struggling with economic strain and other problems, the Taliban has been working to gain access to the money.

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