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Swiss-based trust fund for frozen Afghan assets meets in Geneva

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(Last Updated On: November 22, 2022)

The board of a Swiss-based trust fund managing some $3.5 billion in frozen assets seized after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan(IEA) took power last year is meeting in Geneva for the first time on Monday, a Swiss government spokesperson confirmed.

The frozen central bank reserves were recently transferred from Washington into the ‘Fund for the Afghan People’ where US officials say it will be shielded from the IEA. The latter has condemned the transfer, calling it a violation of international norms.

The agenda of the meeting is not yet public.

The fund’s statutes says its purpose is to “receive, protect, preserve and disburse assets for the benefit of the Afghan people”. But how and when the four-member board will disburse the money remains to be decided, Reuters reported.

After decades of war and drought, half of Afghanistan’s population, or 24 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance according to the United Nations.

However, a full-scale transfer back to Afghanistan’s central bank, known as DAB, is seen as all but impossible with a top official who is under both US and UN sanctions.

The Swiss fund’s statutes indicate that disbursements will be for macroeconomic purposes, such as foreign exchange rate and price stabilization.

The $3.5 billion forms part of an original $7 billion being held in the United States following the IEA takeover in August 2021. The other half is being contested in lawsuits against the IEA stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Trustees include Swiss foreign ministry official Alexandra Baumann, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Scott Miller, Anwar Ahady, a former Afghan central bank chief and former finance minister, and Shah Mehrabi, a U.S. academic who remains on the DAB Supreme Council.

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Afghanistan withdrawal probe sparks anxiety within Biden administration: US’s McCaul

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2024)

US Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, believes the probe into America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has sparked anxiety within the Biden administration.

“Are we going to get scalps? I don’t know, but are we going to hold people accountable? Yeah. And I think at the end of the day, my intent is to make sure that this never happens again,” McCaul told Axios in an interview.

US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee launched an investigation into America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan several months ago.

Democrats have slammed Republican investigations like the Biden impeachment inquiry as witch hunts. But Republicans argue the Afghanistan probe has yielded evidence that’s hard for the White House to ignore.

Meanwhile, Daily Mail has reported that hours of private testimony by two of the top State Department officials who oversaw the evacuation from Afghanistan lays bare the confusion at the heart of the operation, and how they failed to respond to warning signs that the Islamic Emirate was sweeping across the country.

Brian McKeon, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, until he stepped down in December 2022, admitted that officials were never able to confirm how many Americans were on the ground and would need help.

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Kidnapped child rescued in Herat

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(Last Updated On: April 12, 2024)

Police have rescued a five-year-old girl kidnapped in Herat province, the Ministry of Interior said on Thursday.

Fahmia had been kidnapped nine days ago in the seventh district of Herat city, the ministry said on X.

She was rescued during a search operation, it added.

Two women have been arrested in connection with the case, according to the ministry.

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Banning girls’ education has caused economic issues: private school officials

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(Last Updated On: April 11, 2024)

Officials from private schools say banning education of girls above the sixth grade has resulted in serious financial problems for these schools.

According to them, with the ban on education for girls above the sixth grade, not only schools but also teachers and the transportation cycle have suffered economic problems.

Meanwhile, girls who have been barred from going to school ask the Islamic Emirate to reopen the gates of schools and universities to them by creating a suitable plan.

“I request the authorities to reopen schools and universities for girls so that our country can progress,” said a female student.

“My request to the Islamic Emirate is that it should reopen schools above the sixth grade,” said another student.

Although a few days have passed since the beginning of the 1403 academic year, the IEA has not given the green light to reopen schools for girls.

“Some problems have different causes in the education sector, there are some restrictions in the women’s work sector, which are either based on Sharia rules or based on economic issues. The government is committed to solving these issues,” said IEA’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Earlier, Amnesty International emphasized the need to immediately reopen schools and universities for girls.

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