To honorable members of Congress of the United States of America!
As a representative of the new government of Afghanistan, I present to you our compliments and would like to share a few thoughts on our bilateral relations.
This year will mark the centennial of relations between Afghanistan and America. The United States of America initially recognized the sovereign government of Afghanistan officially in 1921 following our independence, whereas diplomatic relations began between both governments in the year 1935. Akin to other world countries, our bilateral relations have also experienced ups and downs.
Without any doubt, the two-decade war after the 7th of October 2001 cast a shadow over relations of American and Afghan people, but fortunately, the end result of this long war was guaranteed and resolved through a bilateral agreement. The Doha Agreement envisioned positive relations between both countries in the future. We believe that full implementation of the Doha Agreement and commitment to it can open a new chapter of positive relations between both governments and people which is in the interest of both countries.
Even though there was a war raging in Afghanistan, we managed to hold many rounds of talks with three US administrations starting from the year 2011.
As you are already aware, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan entered Kabul at the request of the people especially the residents of Kabul in order to prevent chaos and to fill the power vacuum left behind by the irresponsible escape of the Head of the previous Administration. By doing so, it took control of the affairs of Afghanistan as a sovereign government and began working towards the wellbeing of Afghan citizens. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as a sovereign and responsible government, is interested in establishing positive relations with all world governments including the American administration.
Afghanistan has been blessed with a united, responsible and non-corrupt government after an over forty-year war. Practical steps have been taken towards good governance, security and transparency, islands of power have been eliminated, agents of corruption, embezzlement, usurpation and infringement of other rights have been neutralised, security has taken hold throughout the country, no threat is posed to the region or world from Afghanistan and a pathway has been paved for positive cooperation. Afghanistan now has everything available for growth and development, and the United States of America can also invest in the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors of Afghanistan.
It is quite surprising that with the announcement of the new government, the administration of the United States of America slapped sanctions on the assets of our Central Bank. This goes against our expectations as well as the Doha Agreement. The Afghan people, after attaining personal security following decades of war, have a right to financial security. Currently the fundamental challenge of our people is financial security and the roots of this concern lead back to the freezing of assets of our people by the American government.
Despite the fact that following the signing of the Doha Agreement in February 2020 we no longer find ourselves in direct conflict with one another nor are we a military opposition, what logic could possibly exist behind the freezing of our assets? We believe that both sides have a great opportunity to build positive relations, moving forward and learn lessons from past bitter experiences. At a time when we have an excellent opportunity for positive relations, reaching for the option of sanctions and pressure cannot help improve our relations.
We understand the concerns of the international community and America, and it is necessary for both sides to take positive steps in order to build trust.
We are of the belief that freezing Afghan assets cannot resolve the problem at hand neither is it the demand of the American people, hence your government must unfreeze our capital. We are concerned that if the current situation prevails, the Afghan government and people will face problems and will become a cause for mass migration in the region and world which will consequently create further humanitarian and economic issues for the world. Freezing of assets and economic sanctions can harm systems of health, education and other civil services from which the general public benefit. Damage to these building blocks will only harm the common Afghans and this will serve as the worst memory ingrained in Afghans at the hands of America.
Moreover, as the cold winter months are fast approaching in Afghanistan, and in a state where our country has been hammered by the corona virus, drought, war and poverty – American sanctions have not only played havoc with trade and business but also with humanitarian assistance. Assessments by the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations conclude that if these conditions continue, the Afghans will face a dire situation this winter. The suffering of a child from malnutrition, the death of a mother from lack of health services, the deprivation of a common Afghan from food, shelter, medicine and other primary needs has no political or logical justification, and it is detrimental for the prestige of the government and people of the United States of America because this is a pure humanitarian issue. We hope that the members of the American congress will think thoroughly in this regard and the American officials will view from prism of justice the problems of our people arising from sanctions and unjust partisan treatment, and not approach this humanitarian issue in a superficial manner.
In conclusion, I request the government of the United States of America take responsible steps towards addressing the humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding in Afghanistan so that doors for future relations are opened, assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank are unfrozen and sanctions on our banks are lifted.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan avails itself this opportunity to renew to esteem members of the United States Congress its highest considerations.
Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan