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Chorus for unfreezing assets, warnings of 'catastrophe' in Afghanistan grow louder


As the US gears up for a fresh round of talks with the Taliban, calls are growing louder by the day for Washington and its partners to lift restrictions that have left Afghanistan unable to stave off a rapidly spiraling economic crisis.

Thomas West, Washington’s special envoy for Afghanistan, will visit Qatar next week for discussions with Taliban leaders on a range of issues, chief among them being Afghanistan’s dire economic situation and growing need for humanitarian assistance, the US State Department said on Tuesday.

The announcement raises hopes for a country that, according to global rights group Amnesty International, has been pushed into “a full-blown economic crisis” due to the “suspension of foreign aid, the freezing of Afghan government assets, and international sanctions on the Taliban.”

Since the Taliban reclaimed power on Aug. 15, development aid has dried up and billions of dollars in Afghan assets have been frozen by the US.

Apart from the Taliban, China and Pakistan have also repeatedly called for Afghan assets to be unblocked, while social media in and outside Afghanistan has been abuzz with passionate appeals.

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