President Splits Up Frozen Afghan Assets

Some will go to 9/11 families. 

On Friday, President Biden signed an executive order to help enable $7 billion in frozen Afghan assets to be divided between humanitarian relief for the people of Afghanistan and the families of victims of the September 11 terror attacks that occurred in the U.S. in 2001.

The U.S.-held assets belong to Afghanistan’s central bank and were frozen after the Taliban’s takeover in August. Afghanistan now faces an extreme humanitarian crisis with more than 23 million people suffering from acute hunger. According to UNICEF, up to a million Afghan children under the age of five could die by the end of the year due to malnutrition and lack of basic services. 

The president’s executive order requires U.S. financial institutions to transfer the $7 billion in frozen assets to a consolidated account held at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. 

Families of 9/11 victims have sued the Taliban and are seeking access to the funds in federal court, meaning any future transfer to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes will depend on the court’s determination. Even if the court allows half of the assets to be transferred for the benefit of the Afghan people, more than $3.5 billion would remain in the U.S. and be subject to ongoing litigation from the 9/11 families. 

Since August 2021, the U.S. has provided $516 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and in December some restrictions were loosened to make it easier for humanitarian groups to provide aid without running afoul of sanctions on the Taliban. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the president and his advisors as decisions are made regarding humanitarian aid and the frozen assets.
  • For the survivors and families of victims of the 9/11 attacks.
  • For the people of Afghanistan who are suffering under the Taliban regime.

Sources: Axios, Reuters 


Back to top