Half of these funds will be reserved for possible compensation for claims in American courts for relatives of victims of terrorist attacks, including September 11, 2001.

The U.S. President Joe Biden signed a decree on Friday blocking $7 billion of assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan in the United States. This was announced at a special telephone briefing by a high-ranking representative of the American administration.

Immediately after the briefing, the White House press service distributed the text of Biden’s decree, his letter to the leadership of the U.S. Congress notifying of the decisions taken, as well as a reference document on this matter.

“When the radical movement Taliban took Kabul, Afghanistan had more than $9 billion of reserves that were stored in the accounts of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, including $7 billion of reserves that were stored in the United States. The remaining reserves were mostly stored in Germany, the UAE, Switzerland and several other countries,” the official explained at a briefing. “This morning, President Biden signed a decree blocking the assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, which are stored in American financial institutions,” he announced.

A representative of the administration said that these funds will be transferred to a special account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “After that, we will strive to facilitate the provision of access to about $3.5 billion or a little less than this amount <…> to meet the needs of the Afghan people and Afghanistan,” the briefing presenter said. He stressed that the U.S. administration “over the past few months” has been exploring “potential ways to make some of these assets available to support the needs of the Afghan people, but in such a way as not to directly provide the Taliban with access to these assets.” At the same time, more than half of the frozen assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan of the United States, according to an American official, will be reserved for possible compensation for claims in American courts for relatives of victims of terrorist attacks, including September 11, 2001.

At the same time, the representative of the U.S. administration emphasized that permission to “transfer any funds to the needs of the Afghan people” should be given by a court in New York, and this will not be done automatically. “Even if $3.5 billion of these funds are transferred to the needs of the Afghan people, more than $3.5 billion, that is, slightly more than half of the assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, will remain in the United States and will be involved in ongoing litigation involving victims of terrorism in the United States,” he said.