Russia to US: Pay back 20 years of occupation to Afghanistan
Russian UN delegate Vasily Nebenzya does not leave room for US delegate Linda Thomas-Greenfield to degrade Russia, by demanding the US pay back the money taken from Afghanistan during the 20-year occupation.
During the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya called on his US counterpart Linda Thomas-Greenfield to return the money stolen from the Afghan people, rather than trying to make others pay for someone else’s bills.
In response, Thomas-Greenfield claimed during the council meeting that Russia allegedly lacks contribution to fund the restoration of Afghanistan, adding: "From the long-winded speculations of our US colleagues, this could be perceived as a call to Russia and China to pay for the restoration of Afghanistan. Allegedly, it is the US and its allies who are paying for everything, while all that Russia and China only do is just empty talk."
Nebenzya fired back at the US' representative comment with: "The cynicism of such claims is simply shocking. We are being called upon to pay for restoring the country, whose economy was effectively destroyed by the 20-year-long occupation by the US and NATO," the diplomat noted. "Instead of admitting its own mistakes and trying to fix them, we are being accused of being unwilling to pay for someone else’s bill. It is an interesting proposal.
"No, our dear former Western partners, it is you who must pay for your own mistakes," the diplomat specified. "And, for starters, it is necessary to return the money stolen from the Afghan people back to them. We have been helping and will help Afghanistan. And we suggest that you focus on paying the bills to the Afghan people for the 20 years of [your] pointless occupation, which destroyed Afghanistan and which put its people on the brink of survival."
He insisted that money cannot measure everything, nor can it measure the lives lost during the US' "imposition of democracy" in the region, and "nor can money buy the loyalty of the people of Afghanistan, which the US has completely lost, apparently".
Washington and its allies, according to Thomas-Greenfield, have been working to exclude Russia from the UN human rights council following Ukraine's appeal to oust Russia from the UN in late February.
The US officially withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in August of 2021 after 20 years of occupation, which left battles raging across Afghanistan between the Taliban and the Afghan army, with the former now controlling vast areas of the borders throughout the country.
After the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August of last year, the US-backed government was dissolved, leaving behind over $7 billion in central bank assets deposited with the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York. US President Joe Biden then signed an executive order to release the $7 billion, claiming that they will be used for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan and compensating American victims of "terrorism", including 9/11 families.
In response, the Taliban movement saw the US decision as a showcase of theft and US moral decline, according to Mohammad Naeem, a spokesperson for the Taliban political office, as he took to Twitter to say: "The theft of blocked money belonging to the people of Afghanistan by the United States, as well as taking possession of it, is a showcase of the human and moral decline of the country and people".
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing US officials, that the United States will not release any of the $7 billion in Afghan central bank assets held on American soil and has halted relevant talks with the Taliban movement in the wake of the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Kabul last month.
Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov affirmed Russia's stance on backing the demand of Afghanistan's new government that Afghan sovereign assets frozen on foreign bank accounts be restored to it. Kabulov reiterated Russia's position by commenting: "They — the West — froze Afghan assets, these are not the money of the Taliban, but the money of the Afghan people. And Russia now takes a highly moral position, we are already helping Afghanistan with humanitarian supplies".