‘Let us eat’: Afghan protesters call for release of frozen assets

Hundreds of protesters have marched through the streets of Kabul towards the shuttered United States’ embassy, urging the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets.

Holding banners reading, “Let us eat” and “Give us our frozen money”, the protesters chanted slogans and marched down a central avenue on Tuesday, with the ruling Taliban providing security.

International funding to Afghanistan has been suspended and billions of dollars of the country’s assets abroad, mostly in the US, were frozen after the Taliban took control of the country in August.

The lack of funding has battered Afghanistan’s already troubled economy, leading to increasing poverty while aid groups warn of a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

State employees, from doctors to teachers and administrative civil servants, have not been paid in months. Banks, meanwhile, have restricted how much money account holders can withdraw.

On Sunday, Muslim nations resolved to work with the United Nations to try to unlock the frozen Afghan assets in a bid to tackle a growing humanitarian crisis.

At a special meeting in Pakistan of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) delegates said they would work “to unlock the financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and flow of financial and humanitarian assistance”.

The meeting was the biggest conference on Afghanistan since the US-backed government fell in August and the Taliban returned to power.

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