KABUL (Pajhwok): Residents of capital Kabul staged a protest rally on Sunday, saying the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with the Afghan people and their money should not be given as compensation to victims of the attacks and they would not remain silent if the decision was not reconsidered.
US President Joe Biden has moved to freeze about $7bn in assets held in US financial institutions by the Afghan central bank in the wake of the Taliban takeover, as he vowed to direct $3.5bn to humanitarian aid and preserve the rest for families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks.
In an executive order signed on Friday, Biden directed “all property and interests in property” of the Afghan central bank in the US to be blocked and transferred to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, effectively cutting off the Taliban’s access to the US financial system.
The US decision on Afghanistan capital sparked widespread protests by Afghan citizens.
A number of Kabul citizens criticized the US president’s statement at a gathering in Kabul on Sunday organized by a group of “Afghan Shia scholars”.
The participants said the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with the Afghan people and that the Afghans had no any role in the incident. The US president should not use the money of the Afghan people for compensating the victims of the attack, they said.
AttaullahSadiq, head of the National Consensus of Freedom and Independence, said at the meeting that the 9/11 attacks were irrelevant to the Afghan people as they were neither planned nor carried out by Afghans.
“The United States considers itself a superpower in the world, but now it wants to use the money of the Afghan people for its own expenses,” he said, calling the US president’s order as cruel.
“The occupation is over; now is the era of independence; the people of Afghanistan are no longer oppressed; there will be no more proxy wars in Afghanistan, and all people are now united,” he said.
The people of Afghanistan will not give their rights to anyone and the world is responsible to give the Afghans’ money and compensate them, he said.
“We tell the US president that the people of Afghanistan want friendship and mutual respect,” Sadiq said.
Assal Ahmad Shakiri, deputy head of the council, said, “Joe Biden has seized nearly $10 billion in money from the Afghan people and is determined to compensate the victims of 9/11 attacks, but the reality is that the attack was planned by the US itself.”
He criticized silence of Islamic countries on Afghanistan, and said, “The US has lost to Afghans, now it wants to take economic revenge on the people of Afghanistan.”
He asked for reconsideration of the US decision and said that Afghans would not remain silent until the decision was reversed.
A day earlier, Afghan Steelworks Union, in a protest meeting, criticized the decision of US president and called for the move to be reconsidered.