Special envoys from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan call on West to lift freeze on Afghan central bank’s assets
Russia and six nations bordering Afghanistan formed a club to go over ways to achieve long-term peace in the war-torn nation, with diplomats at Tuesday’s inaugural meeting calling for a freeze on Afghan central bank assets to be lifted.
Special envoys from Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan convened in Tashkent and plan to meet regularly to discuss issues facing Afghanistan.
Ismatilla Ergashev, the Uzbek special representative, said the group had agreed that Western nations should lift the freeze on the Afghan central bank’s assets.
The United States froze some $7 billion in central bank assets after the Afghan government was toppled by the Taliban in August 2021, with another $2 billion frozen in European banks. Washington has said that some of the funds would go to a foundation to benefit ordinary Afghans.
“The representatives of these countries emphasized that the return of the money of the Central Bank of Afghanistan should be used primarily to pay the salaries of… the population which is in a difficult situation,” Ergashev told a briefing.
“They also emphasized that nearly 25 million people in Afghanistan are starving and deprived of food,” he added, Reuters reported.
The United Nations last month said six million people in Afghanistan were at risk of famine, while two-thirds of the population was facing severe hunger and were in urgent need of aid.