The US freezing of assets and Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

It is said that the right is what the powerful decide even it is out of morality. If it has been decided that the global might would not recognize the Taliban government – the assets will remain freeze – and indeed, the humanitarian crisis would surge. The only option is left to urge.

On 15 Aug, a new chapter is written in the old book of "Power invades and Power's defeat" when the Taliban overthrew the US-backed government. Later, a newly Taliban government is formed, and the non-state actor emerges as the state actor. Seemingly, it's an event that is called "history repeats itself." However, the dominant actor is the same, but the power that has been defeated is different. This time, the United States was not just a military might but also possessed a gigantic economy.

The US has a long history of hampering global politics with its strategic instruments and putting anyone down to knees. It can bring doomsday to any state in one blow or initiate the cancerous process, which gradually diminishes the state's capabilities. For instance, the invasion of Kosovo, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, was a hard-liner foreign policy strategic stance wherein most of the states could not be sustained. On the other hand, its disseminated economic structure worldwide provided him with the tools to economically weaken any nation-state. The instruments such as putting sanctions, embargoes, asset freezing, and tariffs are the favorite lethal weapons the US often uses to persuade its interest. The trade war with China and the historical account of placing sanctions on states such as the Balkans, Belarus, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine/Russia, and Yemen was a weapon which rifted these state economic stabilities and maintained the US status-quo.

Afghanistan: a state in miseries:

The same is happening with Afghanistan, in which the stake of Afghani people is in danger. First, the US tried its muscles, and after failure, it froze the $9 billion assets and choked the economic mobility of Afghanistan. Seemingly, the war has ended, but in reality, it is a change of traditional to advanced methods that initiated the deterioration process.

Afghanistan Humanitarian crisis

Due to asset freezing, humanitarian issues are growing, and the Afghani people demand immediate relief from the global community. Already, climate change has induced calamity, and due to the shortage of rainfalls and lack of water resources infrastructure, food insecurity has culminated. Moreover, the central bank cannot function the economic activities if the assets remain freeze, and the government cannot run affairs. According to the report, more than 70 percent of the population is facing poverty. If the situation remains the same, this figure would have surpassed the 90, putting the entire population in poverty.

The consequences of not engaging with the Taliban over on Humanitarian Issues and not reverting the decision to freeze $9 billion assets would be severe. Firstly, the government and its machinery could not function whereby the people's livelihood is at risk, and they would remain deprived of fundamental rights such as education and health. Secondly, the chances of civil war would increase, and the malevolent non-state actors like IS-K would get their chance to play their game to deteriorate the volatile condition further. Consequently, the impacts would endanger regional peace and stability.

The US demands of eliminating terrorism and actions – a dilemma

A provision of the Doha deals with the Taliban was that terrorists must not use the Afghanistan soil for harboring terrorism, but the actions of both parties are obscuring the vision of whether eliminating terror is on the top of the list or not. Because fighting against terrorism requires collective measures where the parties deterministically devote their efforts, the siloed approach is vice versa of cooperation and bilateral actions whereby the peace diminishes rather than prevails. For instance, the Aug-29 drone attacked killed ten innocent civilians, including children. It indicates that the lack of cooperation of both sides is exacerbating terror, and the US's primary concern is to prevent the Taliban from getting reign rather than eliminating militancy.

Terrorist organizations are now taking advantage of the anarchic situation. Recently, a Shia mosque has been attacked with deadly explosives in Kandahar province, which has killed 47 and injured more than 70. Previously, the dire attacked on Kabul airport showed how much the intensity and influence of these actors have on Afghanistan territory.

Global communities are urging; but in vain:

The secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, writes a letter to the UN secretary-general and world bank president in response to their discontinued funding which is exacerbating the crisis further. In the letter, he pointed out how the lack of funding and wages to public servants are affecting Afghanistan's socio-economic conditions. He demanded a mechanism to resolve the payment issues as soon as possible; otherwise, the detrimental scenario is ahead.

Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, letter
Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, letter

The countries like Pakistan, China, Qatar, and Turkey are continuously urging the nations and the US to engage with the Taliban and not putting unilateral sanctions. Furthermore, the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, has also asked to find the solution for injecting money for humanitarian issues despite the disagreements with the Taliban. However, there is no sounding response from the western side concerning assets unfreezing. The lack of engagement from the western side and the Taliban's unwillingness to surrender their agendas are evident. In this scenario, the global community can only play a mediator role between both parties. However, the one thing is clear that the humanitarian issues are burgeoning, bringing the Afghanistan state to the edge of collapsing. There is a dire need for funds and foreign aids, but the US disengagement and rigid stance make the situation gruesome.


Undoubtedly, the Afghanistan issue is one the most burning issue of this time, and only the Afghani and the people working on the Afghani land can feel the absolute pain. Halted funds and frozen assets are making the conditions more worsen. The mechanism of bypassing the payment system from the Taliban will not solve burgeoning problems. In this scenario, cooperation with the Taliban is essential to stop humanitarian issues from escalating. The US must have to unfreeze the asset and collaborate on the issues like terrorism and extremism. The power-politics would ignite the tensions further and put the livelihood of Afghani people in danger.