The U.S. responded by freezing Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves in New York — $7 billion worth. President Biden set aside half of that for relatives of Sept. 11 victims to pursue in the courts. The other $3.5 billion is supposed to support Afghan needs, but the U.S. said on Monday that it would not release the funds anytime soon, despite criticism from economists and humanitarian groups.
“The global architecture against financial crimes is designed to exclude and go after groups like the Taliban,” said Alex Zerden, formerly of the Treasury’s Office of International Affairs, and an expert witness for some 9/11 victims. So the system was ill equipped to manage the “perverse” turn of events in Kabul, he added.
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