Biden’s Latest Decision ‘Tantamount To Mass Murder’
President Joe Biden signed an executive order designating half of the $7 million in Afghanistan’s central bank’s frozen assets to humanitarian relief and the other half to assist 9/11 victims.
The move comes soon after Biden rejected a military report criticizing his administration’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“No, that’s not that I was told,” Biden told NBC’s Lester Holt when asked if the Army investigative report rang true to him.
“There was no good time to get out, but if we had not gotten out, they acknowledged we would have had to put a hell of a lot more troops back in.”
Asked if he was rejecting the conclusions in the report, Biden said, “Yes, I am.”
“I am rejecting them.”
Biden’s order requires the assets to be transferred and held to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The funds have been frozen in the U.S. banking system since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August. Before that, the funds assisted hospitals, schools, factories, and government ministries.
Half of the funds will be used for Afghan aid, and the remaining $3.5 million will be used for ongoing legal proceedings for U.S. victims of terrorism.
Last month, the United Nations issued an appeal for roughly $5 billion in aid, its largest-ever appeal for a single country, estimating that nearly 90% of Afghanistan’s population were living below the poverty level of $1.90 a day. The UN warned that more than 1 million children were at risk of starvation.
David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, urged the release of the funds to prevent famine at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday.
“The humanitarian community did not choose the government, but that is no excuse to punish the people,” Miliband said, “and there is a middle course — to help the Afghan people without embracing the new government.”
Biden’s decision was rebuked by critics, who said it “puts Biden on track to cause more death and destruction in Afghanistan than was caused by the 20 years of war that he ended.”
Austin Ahlman, a reporter for The Intercept, said Biden’s order “is tantamount to mass murder.”
Seizing the central bank funds “brought economic activity to a standstill,” Ahlman wrote.
“In the last few months, as House Democrats squabbled over the wording of letters and Senators balked at questions about America’s responsibility for the crisis, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan has rapidly devolved. Multiple international organizations have warned that these conditions have pushed nearly 10 million Afghans to the brink of starvation. To survive, people are burning their furniture and other possessions to stay warm, or selling them for food. While those 20 years of war, an irregularly long drought, and an especially severe winter have set the stage for the crisis, the proximate cause of the Afghan people’s suffering is the seizure of Afghan assets, coupled with sanctions imposed by the United States government.”