As it is known, United States of America (USA) has withdrawn from Afghanistan within the scope of the Doha Agreement dated 29 February 2020. However, the USA justified its violation of the Doha Agreement by saying that Taliban has obtained power through use of force and failed to fulfil the promises it has given within the scope of the agreement. In this context, the Washington administration is preventing the recognition of the Taliban and does not give the necessary support to remove the Taliban leaders from the sanctions list of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In addition, the USA blocks the national reserves of Afghanistan and prevents the use of the reserves by the Taliban. This issue is considerably important because national reserves of Afghanistan are among the leading issues discussed between the Taliban and the USA in the recent years.
On 11 February 2022, the USA President Joe Biden set forth that 3.5 million dollars of Afghanistan’s reserves should be given to the Afghan people as humanitarian aid, and the other 3.5 billion dollars should be delivered to families of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After this decision, the Supreme Court of the USA rejected the proposal which aimed to give 3.5 million dollars to the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on the grounds that the decision exceeds its authority. The USA brought forward the “Afghan Fund” issue while the aforementioned case continues.
With a declaration, the USA Ministry of Treasury announced that the 3.5 million dollars of Afghanistan’s national reserves would be transferred to an “Afghan Fund” established in Switzerland in order to ensure economic stability. According to the statement, the fund was going to be managed by a committee and that two Afghans would take part in the committee along with the representatives of the USA and Switzerland.
It was announced that those Afghans were the Governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan and Minister of Finance Anwarul Haq Ahadi and the Member of the Supreme Council of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, Shah Mehrab. On the other hand, it was indicated that Afghan Fund would be used in accordance with the Switzerland laws. In addition, the USA has stated that Taliban would not be a part of the fund and that fund would be kept in the accounts of the Switzerland-centered Bank for International Settlements.
It can be said that USA abstains from making Taliban a part of the fund because of the political interferences towards the Central Bank and that two people, who were appointed by the Taliban to the Central Bank of Afghanistan are on the sanctions list. It was learned that the fund in question would be used for issues such as Afghanistan’s international payments, electric energy exports and printing money. An executive member of the fund, Envarul Hak Ahadi, has said that the fund would be spent for financial issues rather than humanitarian aid and all activities of the fund would be audited by an international audit company at the end of the year.
After the statements of the USA, Taliban-controlled Central Bank of Afghanistan stated that national reserves belonged to the people of Afghanistan and it was necessary that they were used to ensure monetary stability. In return, the Central Bank of Afghanistan stated that it was not going to accept the use of money for trade purposes or any other use that does not serve to the purpose of the fund.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban, on the other hand, issued a statement suggesting that the use of Afghanistan’s reserves for material and financial purposes is a blow of the US against the Afghan economy and announced that the activities of all organizations and firms involved in the use of this money will be ceased in Afghanistan. In this statement, Taliban mentioned that the Central Bank of Afghanistan can accept the external audits that will be performed on issues of independency and professionalism.
There are various reasons for the USA to insist on the establishment of the fund and the Taliban’s opposition to it. It is necessary to state that many governments and international organizations, especially Russia and China, want that the USA gives Afghanistan’s national reserves back and therefore helps prevent the crisis in Afghanistan. The Washington administration that faces serious pressures on this issue might have designed the Afghan Fund as an intermediary to suppress international pressure.
Another goal of the USA is to counteract the Taliban’s policy of blaming the US for the bad economy and low living standards in Afghanistan, which arose from the alleged melting of reserves. As it is known, many people lost their jobs and the economic situation of the Afghan people deteriorated after the Taliban possessed power in Afghanistan. Taliban blames the USA for the bad economics situation in Afghanistan and wants the patience of the people. The US is trying to win the hearts of the people by distributing the reserves to the Afghan people in some way through the fund. In other words, the USA wants to correct the image it has lost by delivering the money as if it is doing a great help to the Afghan people.
Moreover, the USA intends to exercise full control over the Afghanistan economy by using the fund. The fund will not be subjected to any processing without the permission of the USA due to its stipulated usage and it will sort of undertake the mission of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. The establishment of the Afghanistan economy on such a fund brings to the mind the possibility of the inclusion of the Washington administration to the Afghanistan economy in a negative way. In such situation, the USA can increase its pressure towards the Taliban through Afghanistan’s reserves and draw the Taliban administration to the line it wants by threatening to damage the economy.
The main reason the Taliban opposes the fund is that the fund has a structure that makes it difficult for Taliban to be recognized and leads to the isolation of Taliban from other governments. In other words, the fund will deprive the Taliban’s features to become a government and will be the ultimate source of authorities such as printing money and making payments. Therefore, the Taliban will become dependent on the fund in order to be involved in trade.
In addition, Afghanistan will be a mere spectator of the fact that its currency will become vulnerable to foreign currencies, and its ability to ensure stability in the market will be out of the hands of the Taliban. Undoubtedly, when a state does not have dollar and gold reserves, it is impossible to maintain the value of its national currency against foreign currencies. In this context, the USA has blocked Afghanistan’s national reserves, bringing the Afghan economy to the brink of collapse. Indeed, as Afghanistan does not have a national reserve, the Taliban administration cannot print money. Moreover, printing money on Afghanistan’s own initiative will again result in the depreciation of its own currency against other currencies.
It is seen that the Taliban opposes the use of the fund against its own control. However, given the information that the Taliban dominates all of Afghanistan, it is foreseeable that although the USA wants to disable the Taliban in terms of managing the fund, it will have to include the Taliban in the management of the fund after a certain period of time. As a matter of fact, while the Washington administration wants the UNSC to limit the travel exemptions of the Taliban leaders, the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Tom West, announced that he supports establishing a dialogue with the Taliban.
As a result, it can be said that the transfer of Afghanistan’s national reserves to the Afghan Fund will be in the interests of the Taliban in the short term; but it will conclude against the Taliban in the long term. This is because more hot money will enter Afghanistan in the short term and the Afghan currency will gain value. In the long term, the Afghan currency will remain vulnerable.
 “امریکا نصف دارایی منجمد شدۀ افغانستان را به سویس منتقل میکند”, VOA, https://www.darivoa.com/a/us-sets-up-fund-for-afghan-money-after-taliban-talks-flop-/6747128.html, (Date of Accession: 16.09.2022).
 “آمریکا ۳.۵ میلیارد دلار از دارایی مسدود شده افغانستان را به یک صندوق در سوئیس منتقل میکند”, Euronews, https://per.euronews.com/2022/09/15/us-sets-up-afghan-relief-fund-with-frozen-central-bank-money, (Date of Accession: 16.09.2022).
 “انورالحق احدی: وظیفه صندوق امانی، استقرار پولی و حفظ داراییهای بانک مرکزی افغانستان است”, Afintl, https://www.afintl.com/202209151229, (Date of Accession: 16.09.2022).
 “بانک مرکزی انتقال پولهای مسدودشده افغانستان به سوئیس را غیرقابل قبول خواند”, Etilaatroz, https://l24.im/QBCth, (Date of Accession: 16.09.2022).
 “طالبان افراد و سازمانهای همکار با «صندوق امانی افغانستان» را جریمه و تحریم میکند”, Afintl, https://www.afintl.com/202209157750, (Date of Accession: 16.09.2022).