The Nation

Biden Is Fine With Mass Civilian Death

The hoarding of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves is a striking example of the administration’s capacity for brutality.

Read the full piece in The Nation

Last week, it again became clear: The Biden White House—like many before it—is willing to facilitate mass death.

Since August, when the Biden administration withdrew US troops after two decades of war, Afghanistan has been experiencing one of the worst economic shocks of any country in recent history. After the Taliban essentially walked into power, Biden began blocking Afghanistan’s central bank from accessing the roughly $7 billion it has sitting in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Countries holding the rest of the central bank’s more than $9 billion in foreign reserves have been reluctant to release them before the US makes a move, and US sanctions against the Taliban have ground other Afghan banking and currency circulation to a halt. As a result, banks have closed, salaries have gone unpaid, and inflation and unemployment have skyrocketed. Tens of millions of ordinary Afghan civilians do not have reliable access to food or electricity during winter, and millions of children could starve.

The country’s more than 40 million residents have been bearing through this misery for months, waiting for Biden to do something. Late last week, he made his move. He issued an executive order consolidating and officially freezing the $7 billion held in the US, and announced plans to split that pot of money in half: $3.5 billion would be set aside to distribute as aid “for the benefit of the Afghan people” while the other roughly $3.5 billion would be made accessible to families of American victims of Taliban-aided terror attacks who had sued the group in US federal court.

Whatever recompense those American families of Taliban victims—who number less than one hundredth of one percent of the number of Afghans depending on the frozen funds—deserve, robbing millions of people to such an end would be a mockery of whatever notion of justice to which Biden is appealing.


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