On Sunday, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on President Biden to reverse his decision to give $3.5 billion of Afghan reserves to relatives of victims of the September 11th attacks.
Karzai said the move was “unjust and unfair” and was an “atrocity” against the Afghan people since they had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of the 20-year US war, Afghanistan is in the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis, and millions of Afghans are facing starvation.
Biden signed an executive order Friday that freed up the $3.5 billion to be paid to 9/11 families through lawsuits. The other $3.5 billion will be put into a trust with the intention to be spent on humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, and the spending is meant to go through aid organizations to bypass the Taliban.
Karzai called on the US to release all the money and give it to the Afghan central bank. Karzai served as the first president of the now-defunct US-backed Afghan government from 2001 to 2014 and has been back in the spotlight since the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
Meanwhile, in Kabul, Afghans took to the streets to protest Biden releasing the $3.5 billion to 9/11 families. Demonstrators called for the US to give Afghanistan financial compensation for the tens of thousands of Afghan civilians that were killed during the war.
Besides seizing Afghanistan’s reserves, the US also maintains sanctions on Taliban leaders that now form the new Afghan government. The sanctions discourage international companies and banks from doing business with Afghanistan, making it even harder for the country to find economic relief.