Kabul: The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan have appealed to the international community to unfreeze the assets of the central bank as the country is struggling in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Paktika province that killed at least 1,100 people last week.
Addressing the media on Saturday, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the Taliban regime is “asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life, and that is through lifting the sanctions, unfreezing our assets, and also providing assistance”, Khaama News reported.
When Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, over $9 billion of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country’s central bank, assets were frozen by the US, as well as a halt of funds by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Balkhi’s appeal came days after he had said that the Taliban government was “financially unable to assist the people to the extent that is needed” as Afghanistan is in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian and economic crisis.
Despite help from “aid agencies, neighbouring countries and world powers”, he said that “the assistance needs to be scaled up to a very large extent because this is a devastating earthquake which hasn’t been experienced in decades”.
Since the quake struck on June 22, international aid have flown in to help the affected.
So far, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, the UK, Norway, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, as well as international organisations like the Red Cross.
On June 22, the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, deemed to be the deadliest in two decades, struck the districts of Gayan and Barmal.
Some 1,600 people were also injured as a result.
The epicentre was 44 km from Khost city and tremors were felt as far away as Pakistan and India.
More than 1,600 homes were destroyed in the worst-hit Gayan district.