Seizure of Afghanistan’s bank reserves will further harm US interests

Yes Joe BidenJoe BidenAustin on Possible Russian Invasion of Ukraine: ‘I Don’t Believe It’s a Bluff’ Energy and Environment Overnight – Situation in Russia Could Worsen Gas Prices On The Money – Fed Imposes Strict Limits senior management transactions MORE has a favorite movie, it’s probably “the banditabout an aristocrat who robs the rich to give to the poor – but, Joe being Joe, he got it backwards.

What else explains his recent decision to seize $7 billion in foreign currency assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which were held in US financial institutions? While the White House talked a lot about sequestering half of the funds “to meet the needs of the Afghan people,” it seemed less concerned with trumpeting that the other half could be attributed to American victims of terrorism, including the attacks of the September 11th. .

In addition, the $3.5 billion set aside in a third-party trust fund “for the benefit of the Afghan people and for the future of Afghanistan” will be “pending a court ruling”, so it is possible that the entire amount be attributed to the September 11 attacks. victims. And this trust fund will take months to set up, so the money is not available to avert the large-scale starvation deaths predicted this winter.

To further complicate the Biden decision is that, according to Ambassador Tony Wayne“a significant portion” of the seized reserves “actually belong to individual Afghans and Afghan companies…not related to the government or the Taliban at all,” money that was held by the ATM.

But if Washington is a thieving spirit, a better use of money than the already well-compensated 9/11 widows and orphans (and their lawyers) is to pay the wages of the abandoned. Afghan diplomats who have no income and fear eviction.

Biden’s move was denounced by some media as “amounting to mass murder”. The White House tried to defuse expected criticism by saying Afghanistan’s economic situation was already dire and that it was the Taliban’s fault anyway for the “forced takeover of the country”.

And that’s not all that has happened in recent weeks.

The Pentagon declassified reportswhose existence was refuse by the White House, blame Kabul’s humiliating retreat on the US Ambassador, the White House and the National Security Council (NSC), which downplayed the looming threat, then acted too late.

Just so you don’t get bogged down in 2,000 pages of bureaucratic “who shot John”, the Pentagon has kindly included details about the “drunk” diplomatic staff “cowling” in their quarters as Kabul fell under the spell of this true end-of-empire vibe.

If Foggy Bottom writes a response, it will be in more gracious prose, but it will be a weak response to the DOD’s deft hit for failing the first rule of government disasters: always send the first message. It doesn’t matter who wins the pillow fight, the fact that the reports were originally filed – and 2,000 pages — will give it some credence and allow America’s enemies to claim that it is an accurate rendering of Washington’s recklessness and incompetence.

And who leaked minutes of an NSC meeting on August 14, 2021. which showed that US agencies were finally assigning tasks for the identification and evacuation of Afghan partners at risk? Unfortunately, these were tasks that should have been completed six months earlier, not by mid-August. The meeting was held at 4:30 p.m. EST, shortly before sunrise in Kabul where the Taliban were preparing on the outskirts of the city.

But there is more…

An independent report announcement that several hospitals in Kabul received Afghan civilians killed by bullets, not ball bearings that were part of the explosive vest worn by the attacker at Hamid Karzai International Airport that killed 13 US service members and 170 Afghan civilians. The United States disputed the report, and the matter remains unresolved – and always will be because no American investigator will ever visit Kabul.

This will not prevent the spread of the story – true or not – that US troops opened fire on unarmed Afghans as a measure of Crown control. The Taliban would be foolish not to run with it. And they are not fooled.

US backtracks as initial assertion is again undermined by on-the-spot reports, recalling the drone attack it was a “just strike” according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Marc MilleyMark MilleyOversight Republicans demand Afghan withdrawal documentsa claim that was debunked once the media visited the scene and reported that the US missile had killed ten members, including seven children, of the pro-US Ahmadi family.

The United States is handicapped by its reluctance to verify civilian casualties through on-site investigations, an unfortunate trend highlighted by independent findings that the United States under reports civilians by relying on aerial surveillance for a body count. It may be because of an overreliance on technology or a concern for the safety of its inhabitants – or an intention to conceal the true civilian death toll from American and foreign audiences. , but history writes itself.

Of all the bad news, the most significant was the seizure of Afghan currency assets, which will weaken the country’s crisis response. food crisisalready hampered by the sanction of the Taliban government.

The earmarking of half the Afghan funds for the victims of the 9/11 attacks recalls the rumination of a retired politician named Obama who said, “I think at some point you made enough money. The average 9-11 price of death was $2,082,128 and reached $7.1 million, and bodily injury compensation reached $8.6 million – all tax-free – and unimaginable for Afghan parents forced to sell a child to get money for food.

Afghans don’t unreasonably think it’s all a set-up: Joe Biden’s staff lawyer for Afghan affairs left the White House in January and is now representing the families of the victims of September 11.

The US exit strategy from Afghanistan was simple: “Raise the drawbridge! But the coda of sanctions, starvation and theft is likely to do more harm to US interests in Central Asia than the mistakes and omissions of the previous two decades.

James Durso (@james_durso) is the Managing Director of Corsair LLC, a supply chain consultancy. He was a member of the professional staff of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission of 2005 and the Commission on Wartime Contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Durso was a United States Navy officer for 20 years, specializing in logistics and security assistance. His overseas military assignments were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and he served in Iraq as a civilian transportation adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority. He served afloat as the supply officer of the submarine USS SKATE (SSN 578).

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