Swiss-Based Trust Fund for Frozen Afghan Assets Meets in Geneva

The board of a Swiss-based trust fund managing some $3.5 billion in frozen assets seized after the Taliban took power last year is meeting in Geneva for the first time on Monday, a Swiss government spokesperson confirmed, Reuters reported. The frozen central bank reserves were recently transferred from Washington into the 'Fund for the Afghan People' where U.S. officials say it will be shielded from the Taliban. The latter has condemned the transfer, calling it a violation of international norms. The agenda of the meeting is not yet public. The fund's statutes says its purpose is to "receive, protect, preserve and disburse assets for the benefit of the Afghan people". But how and when the four-member board will disburse the money remains to be decided. After decades of war and drought, half of Afghanistan's population, or 24 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance according to the United Nations. However, a full-scale transfer back to Afghanistan's central bank, known as DAB, is seen as all but impossible with a top official who is under both U.S. and U.N. sanctions. Read more.