Joe Biden recently announced that the United States government is stealing $3.5 billion from the Afghan people. But that’s not exactly how he said it. Before the U.S. military pulled out of Afghanistan, the Afghan Central Bank had $7 billion in reserves held in the U.S. That money belonged to the people of Afghanistan. But the Biden administration decided to allow half of it to be used for so-called “humanitarian” purposes in Afghanistan and the other half ($3.5 billion) to go to families of 9/11 victims in the U.S.
This is outrageous. For one thing, that money does not belong to the U.S. government. Secondly, it was the 20-year war started by the U.S. government that led to tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. This war was followed by the breakdown of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, which has led to an economic and humanitarian disaster for Afghanistan. All of that money – and more – should go to the people of Afghanistan.
Biden may think incorrectly, as Bush, Obama, and Trump apparently did, that the Afghan people were somehow responsible for 9/11. So, using Afghan funds to support families of 9/11 victims may seem like good politics to him. But Biden and the other U.S. presidents could easily have taken billions from their government’s nearly $800 billion military budget to help those families. Not to mention the fact that U.S. imperialist policies in the Middle East – destroying the lives of millions for the sake of cheap oil – is what created the explosive anger that led to the 9/11 attacks. The theft of billions of dollars from Afghanistan by the U.S. government will only feed that anger.