The Taliban have warned US President Joe Biden that if he does not publish…

The Taliban have warned US President Joe Biden that if he does not release the $7 billion in Afghan funds, his administration “unfrozen” last week, the fundamentalist Islamist group will have no choice but to “reconsider” his policy toward Washington.

Any “diversion” of the $7 billion belonging to the Afghan central bank would be “a flagrant violation of the agreement concluded with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, Taliban deputy spokesman Inamullah Samangani told Biden in a statement Monday.

“If the United States does not deviate from its position and continues its provocative actions, the Islamic Emirate will also be forced to reconsider its policy towards the country,” he added. continued the spokesperson, condemning “flight” by the United States and adding that “The September 11 attacks have nothing to do with Afghanistan.”

In an executive order last week, Biden lifted the $7 billion freeze but designated half of it to deal with the “widespread humanitarian crisis” the United States left Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation, while pledging the remaining $3.5 billion to compensate American victims of Taliban terrorism — including, he said, relatives of those who died on September 11, 2001 – who had previously tried unsuccessfully to prosecute the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

While the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks, it was not because of compelling evidence that the Taliban were responsible for acts of terror attributed to al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden. . The United States alleged that bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan at the time of the hijackings, and the Taliban agreed to hand him over to the Americans if he could be guaranteed a fair trial – a stipulation that the president of the time, George W. Bush, notoriously refused to honor. , stating that he has no “negotiating with terrorists”.

Rather than extract bin Laden and bring him to justice for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States invaded Afghanistan. US and NATO troops remained there for the next two decades, part of a failed nation-building mission that crumbled just days after the Biden administration finally brought its troops back. home in August. The Taliban steadily grew in strength during the final years of American occupation, and the Afghan army largely chose to turn and flee rather than confront them without American help.

“For the United States to avoid international blame and harm its relationship with the Afghan people, it must back down from its decision” to seize Kabul’s billions, the Taliban statement concludes. “Release the Wealth of Afghans Unconditionally.”

Kevin E. Boling