U.S. to Move $3.5 Billion in Afghan Central bank Assets to Swiss-Based Trust

The United States on Wednesday announced that it would transfer $3.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets into a new Swiss-based trust fund that will be shielded from the Taliban and used to help stabilize Afghanistan's collapsed economy, Reuters reported. The Afghan Fund, managed by a board of trustees, could pay for critical imports like electricity, cover debt payments to international financial institutions, protecting Afghanistan's eligibility for development aid, and fund the printing of new currency. "The Afghan Fund will protect, preserve and make targeted disbursements of that $3.5 billion to help provide greater stability to the Afghan economy," the U.S. Treasury said in a statement. U.S. officials said no money would go to the Afghan central bank, known as DAB, until it is "free of political interference" - diplomatic parlance for replacing the bank's top Taliban officials, two of whom are under U.S. and U.N. sanctions, with banking professionals - and anti-money laundering safeguards are instituted. "Until these conditions are met, sending assets to DAB would place them at unacceptable risk and jeopardize them as a source of support for the Afghan people," U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Ademeyo said in a letter to the central bank's Supreme Council seen by Reuters. Read more.