By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KABUL (Worthy News) – A Christian aid group has condemned U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to seize $7 billion in Afghan funds, saying it could increase Islamic extremism.
Barnabas Fund, which helps troubled minority Christians in Afghanistan, called Biden’s executive order “strategically incompetent, morally reprehensible and completely unjust.”
The funds – “which belong to the ordinary people of Afghanistan, were invested by the Afghan Central Bank in the United States,” the group noted. Washington froze the money since the country’s takeover by the Islamist Taliban group in August 2021.
It said that under the order, frozen funds would be divided in two. Half will be reserved for compensation claims by the victims of the U.S. “9/11 terror attacks” against the Taliban for colluding with the al-Qaida terror group. The rest is used to fund charities working to alleviate the ongoing famine in Afghanistan, Barnabas Fund said.
Yet, at present, combined requests for aid “by charities and NGOs” amount to nearly $11 billion, aid workers said. “That’s more than the entirety of the assets,” Barnabas Fund explained. “Families in Afghanistan will bear the brunt of Western attempts to appear tough with the country’s Taliban government,” the Christian group complained.
“The people of Afghanistan have not been able to access their own money, even as they have been forced into desperate acts to try to stave off the threat of starvation. Some have sold their kidneys to buy food – some have even taken the heart-breaking step of selling their children,” Barnabas Fund added.
“Now their money has been appropriated by the U.S. in the name of the greater good,” Barnabas Fund stressed. However, Biden’s executive order “fails, first of all, in its intent to reduce the risk of Islamist terrorism,” it claimed.
“Enforcing financial hardship and famine on the people of Afghanistan by appropriating their savings and assets will create a fertile breeding ground for radicalization,” Barnabas Fund told Worthy News.
The White House said the order “is designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and malicious actors.”
Yet, “the funds do not belong to the Taliban; they belong to the Afghan people,” countered Barnabas Fund. “Neither is there any suggestion that they would find their way into the hands of terrorists as the U.S. seem to assume. In six months since their takeover, the Taliban has not interfered in the workings of the Afghan Central Bank.”
Barnabas Fund said it regrets that Biden rejected a plan to unfreeze and monitor small amounts of the assets at a time. That plan, it said, “would have ensured that the Afghan Central Bank retains liquidity without risking large amounts of money being siphoned off for terrorist groups.”
Analysts also expressed concerns. “In the name of benefiting the 9/11 families, we will be seeding the ground for the next 9/11,” said Cheryl Benard of the RAND National Security Research Division along with others writing in The National Interest publication.
Barnabas Fund added that those sentiments would bolster recruitment for terror groups including al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
The group also said the Britain-led International Security Assistance Force had not prevented the issuing of “a fatwa,” or Islamic decree, by the previous government for the killing of those who leave Islam. There was no immediate reaction from the force; however, troops left Afghanistan swiftly following the Taliban takeover.
The West was involved in “the subsequent failure of Christians who faced death at the hands of Islamists,” Barnabas Fund stressed.
Yet it warned that the “Word of God is clear,” referring to Bible verse Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
” Judgment is declared upon those who “trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed” Barnabas Fund cited Amos 2:7.
“The corruption, wickedness and moral failings of some non-Western governments are plain to see, but those of the Western powers are no less evident.”
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