Monday May 23, 2022

Afghans urge court not to give frozen central bank assets to 9/11 families

By News Desk
May 11, 2022

WASHINGTON: Exiled Afghans urge a federal judge to overturn the attempt by relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks to seize $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan central bank funds to pay off rulings owed by the Taliban to pay, to reject, according to recent court records.

In three files, groups of Afghans claimed that the frozen money belonged to the Afghan people, not the Taliban. They portrayed any misuse of the funds as illegal and immoral at a time when their country’s economy is collapsing, triggering a mounting humanitarian crisis and exodus of migrants.

Lawyers for Naseer Faiq, a former Afghan government diplomat who is continuing her mission to the United Nations over the Taliban’s objections, wrote that he “fully supports compensation for the victims of the Taliban”. But it was wrong to take that offset from assets he said belonged to the Afghan people as a whole, the lawyers said.

“That compensation cannot come from the Afghan people, who are morally or legally responsible for the tragic events of September 11, 2001, or the other terrorist acts perpetrated by the Taliban,” the letter continued. Many Afghans helped the United States fight the Taliban, it noted, arguing that the Afghan people were also victims of the Taliban.

The Afghans’ objections add to the dilemma with which the Federal District Court judge presiding over the complex lawsuit, Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York, still has to decide whether the money can be used to fund the families. to be paid from September 11 victims. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn helps him do that.

Two plaintiffs from a group that spearheaded the seizure of the money — Fiona Havlish and Ellen Saracini, who lost their husbands in the attacks — said in a statement that “our hearts are with the Afghan people who are suffering from the Taliban rule.”

But citing “the Taliban’s command over all aspects of life in Afghanistan, including the central bank,” they argued that “the court must apply the law as Congress has written it to comply with the judgments we have made.” and others have rightly spoken out against the Taliban for so many years.”

In September, lawyers for a group of plaintiffs in the Havlish case — about 150 people, attached to 47 estates of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 attacks — persuaded a judge to send a US Marshal to investigate the Federal Reserve of New York. York with a writ of execution to seize Afghan funds to pay off his debt. That has caused a struggle from other groups of claimants demanding a share of the funds.

The top State Department official for Afghanistan, Tom West, later said in an onstage interview that the government believed the best use of that $3.5 billion would be to recapitalize an independent central bank and revitalize the country’s collapsing financial system, rather than funding humanitarian aid such as food and medicine.