Taliban urges U.S. Congress to release Afghanistan's assets

AP , Wednesday 17 Nov 2021

The Taliban on Wednesday urged the U.S. Congress to ease sanctions and release Afghanistan's assets as the country faces economic turmoil.

Afghan children
Afghan children buy bread from a bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. AP

Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a statement posted online that the frozen assets are harming the public, from the health sector to education and other services. His comments after the Taliban's takeover of the country in August, come a day after the World Food Program warned that millions of people in Afghanistan are facing poverty - and as an explosion shook Kabul for the third time in a week.

``American sanctions have not only played havoc with trade and business, but also with humanitarian assistance,'' he said in an open letter to U.S. lawmakers.

The World Food Program warned on Tuesday that 8.7 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of facing ``famine-like conditions'' and an additional 14.1 million are suffering acute food insecurity.

According to the WFP report, 600,000 displaced people and drought in the country are adding to the poverty.

The country also is struggling with the attacks mostly targeting civilian in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover.

An explosion hit a minivan in a Shiite neighborhood of western Kabul Wednesday, killing at least one person and wounding three others, a Taliban official said.

Zabihullah Mujahid, deputy minister for culture and information in the Taliban-led government, told The Associated Press that an investigation is continuing. He did not elaborate.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a blast on Saturday that killed one person and wounded five others. A roadside bomb struck a taxi in Kabul Monday, wounding two people.

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