Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
If President Joe Biden has his way, the penalty the Taliban will suffer for returning Afghanistan to a safe harbor for terrorists, a living nightmare for women, and a persecution center for Christians will be access to billions of dollars in unfrozen foreign assets.
According to a report from Reuters, which cited three people with direct knowledge of the situation, the Biden administration is looking to move forward on talks to release Afghanistan’s foreign assets that have been frozen since the Taliban recaptured power in August 2021.
Biden and his team believe that releasing the money will help to relieve the strains of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, one that has remained largely unchanged despite frequent interventions by the U.N., U.S., and international humanitarian groups.
Biden, who in July revoked Afghanistan’s standing as a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., set aside $3.5 billion of some $7 billion in frozen assets to eventually be used to help the people of Afghanistan. It was a move that drew criticism from across the globe, not least of which from the Taliban, who have long agitated to be given access to the money under the promise of using it to benefit the Afghan people.
Now, Biden appears willing to overlook a laundry list of Taliban evils, and potentially take the organization on its word, despite the glaring potential pitfall of the Taliban being, well, the Taliban. At the heart of the proposal is a belief, perhaps a hope, that the Taliban will, despite decades of evidence to the contrary, use the money for the good of the people.
By any objective measure, the only people who have benefitted from the return of the Taliban to power have been the Taliban themselves.
As FISM has covered numerous times over the past year-plus, the Taliban has made Afghanistan the singularly most deadly place on earth for a person to be a professing Christian or to express anything other than the dominant orthodoxy of the Taliban.
None, though, have suffered a worse fate than the women of Afghanistan, who after years of slowly developing more professional autonomy and making strides academically, have been largely relegated to second-class citizenry in about 365 days.
“In the fallout of Afghanistan, President Biden has not only damaged our capacity to protect the homeland; he has cut the legs out of his own administration’s promise to uphold human rights,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said in a scathing statement marking the one-year anniversary of the United States’ chaotic exit from Afghanistan.
“Over the last two decades, Afghan women and girls saw unprecedented freedom following a period of brutal fundamentalist rule,” Ernst continued. Women were able to attend secondary school, receive degrees and have careers. As the Taliban took over the country, there was global concern for what was to come for the women and girls who remained in the country.”
Ernst also pointed out that Biden has repeatedly failed to hold the Taliban accountable for reneging on promises agreed upon after Biden withdrew American troops.
President Biden repeatedly promised to hold the Taliban accountable and protect the rights of Afghan women and girls. Despite this promise, over the last year we have seen the Taliban unravel significant, hard-won gains for the women of Afghanistan. Women are now prohibited from working, forced to cover themselves in the burqa, and required to travel, any distance, with a male family member.
Anthony B. Kim, a researcher for the Heritage Foundation, released an article on Monday in which he said Biden’s legacy, as relates to Afghanistan, has been a mix of cluelessness, ineptitude, misplaced optimism, and empty promises.
“Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, Biden’s Afghanistan disaster has shown that he’s more of a bystander than a world leader,” Kim writes.
Kim also revealed a fact that, one would think, would or should play heavily in the thinking of the Biden administration: the U.S. has already sent a large quantity of money to Afghanistan, all of it earmarked for humanitarian use, that has had a negligible impact.
“Despite nearly $800 million in humanitarian aid from the U.S. government since Biden’s disastrous pullout of troops from Afghanistan, some 20 million Afghans, about half the population, remain severely deprived economically,” Kim wrote. “This reflects almost no change from a year ago, when we were also told that half of Afghanistan required emergency food and other lifesaving assistance to avoid a major famine.
“More critically, there is no way of knowing whether U.S. aid is reaching those in need or is being diverted to Taliban forces and other unintended recipients for their own use.”