Global Times’ online petition demands US return money to Afghans
Published: Feb 23, 2022 02:13 PM Updated: Feb 27, 2022 11:50 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Click here to sign the joint letter demanding the US to return life-saving money to Afghans.

After the US released a plan to unfreeze money from Afghanistan's central bank but use it for the US' needs, the international community was outraged. 

In response, the Global Times launched an online petition on Wednesday demanding that the US return the life-saving money to Afghans unconditionally.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order unfreezing $7 billion in Afghan funds held in the US to distribute the money as the US sees fit. Half of the assets will be used to compensate victims of the September 11 attacks while the other half will be used to set up a trust fund "for the benefit of the Afghan people." The move has not only triggered strong indignation in Afghanistan, but also caused an uproar in the international community.

Some Western media even called such move as "adding insult to injury."
This is a savage behavior from the world's most powerful country, publicly robbing the assets of the world's most impoverished country, the Global Times' joint letter said.

The letter said that the US has no right to arbitrarily deal with other countries' overseas assets, whether by "freezing" the assets or carving them up, as such actions lack legal basis and are extremely unethical.

The right thing to do, according to Li Haidong, a professor from the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, is for the US to hand back the money to Afghanistan after the new government is completely formed and recognized by international society. Instead, the US decided to dispose of Afghanistan people's money, which is "very American," said Li. 

Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times that he believes the US should hand out the money to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan first. "Many victims of 9/11 would also feel embarrassed to take the money," said Zhu. 

Expressing their ire, a number of Afghans held protests on Monday, local media reported. 

Seven billion dollars means nothing to the US, which probably can be used to build three B-2 bombers. Yet for the people in Afghanistan, the money is urgently needed. It is live-saving. More than half of the Afghan population is facing starvation and millions of children have died from malnutrition and have no access to medical care. The country's education and social services are on the verge of collapse.

 "More than any other country, the US, as the culprit of such chaos in Afghanistan, shoulders primary responsibility to save Afghans. According to statistics, 30,000 civilians were killed during the Afghan war and approximately 11 million became refugees. Instead of offering a helping hand, the US is stealing money from Afghans. How brutal it is!"
We strongly condemn the US' robbery of Afghan assets. We hope you will join us and sign this joint letter to demand that the US unconditionally return what belongs to Afghans, and tackle the unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Afghans are suffering, and they need their money, the letter urged.

Speaking at a press conference last week, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that without the consent of the Afghan people, the US willfully disposes of assets that belong to the Afghan people, even keeping them as its own. 

This is no different from the conduct of bandits. This latest example has once again laid bare that the "rules-based order" the US claims to champion is not the kind of rules and order to defend the weak and uphold justice, but to maintain its own hegemony, Wang said.

As the culprit of the Afghan crisis, the US should not exacerbate the suffering of the Afghan people. It should unfreeze their assets, lift unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan as soon as possible, and assume its due responsibility to ease the humanitarian crisis in the country, according to Wang. 

We demand US to return life-saving money to people of Afghanistan! Graphic: Xu Zihe/GT

We demand US to return life-saving money to people of Afghanistan! Graphic: Xu Zihe/GT