Release Afghanistan’s Frozen Funds Campaign

United Against Inhumanity (UAI) launched a major campaign, in March 2022, to reverse policies imposed by the US and some European governments, to freeze the sovereign external reserves of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country’s central bank.

These assets belong to the Afghan people who had no say in the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021. The arbitrary seizure of these assets was, and is, a key factor in the near collapse of the Afghan economy and its banking sector. A critical role of central banks everywhere is price stability and curbing inflation. When this does not happen, invariably, the poor suffer the most.

The consequences of policies that hobble the DAB include catastrophic levels of poverty and hunger with some two-thirds of the population now dependent on humanitarian support for survival. Unprecedented levels of deprivation have increased indebtedness, displacement and the troubling use of negative coping mechanisms whereby young girls are exchanged in marriage so that other children can be fed.

UAI calls for the immediate, internationally monitored, and phased release of some US$9.1 billion that belong to the Afghan people.

UAI’s Statements on Afghanistan

Below you will find, in chronological order with the most recent first, UAI’s position statements on the on-going situation in Afghanistan.


Bin the rhetoric: Recapitalize Afghanistan’s Central Bank

26th June 2023 UAI Statement

The store front of a bakery is lined with bread hanging, lit by a few lightbulbs in the night. Some children are sitting on the street floor and looking out on onto the street.
In front of a Kabul bakery, children wait for bread donations, Kart-e-Char, Kabul, Afghanistan. December 2022. Credits: Sonia Cautain

NGO letter on Afghanistan to World Bank

NGOs advocate for the formal engagement of the World Bank in Afghanistan to help stabilize the economy and facilitate re-investment in the country’s financial sector.


Two Afghani banknotes are placed side by side on a flat surface. The upper one looks brand new, the lower one is worn out and partly torn.
An arrival of brand new Afghani banknotes has arrived, november 2022. Photo credits: Jean-François Cautain.

Amid deepening poverty, hunger, and economic crisis… A glimmer of hope for Afghans

15th November 2022 UAI Statement


Release Afghan frozen funds now! Afghans need a functioning economy and banking system

4th October 2022 UAI Statement

Women sitting and standing outside a bakery at dusk in Kabul, Afghanist. Photo credits: Sonia Cautain.
Women sitting and standing outside a bakery at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo credits: Sonia Cautain.

A year of deepening crisis and avoidable suffering

24th August 2022 UAI Statement.

Two people clad in women's garb (long black dresses covering the head). One is holding a wheelbarrow filled with white bags. Some other people are visible in the background. The picture was taken outside on a sunny day.
Photo © WFP / Marco Di Lauro. Women move food from a distribution site on the outskirts of Herat, Afghanistan in 2021.

A child is crouching next to a kettle boiling on a open pit wood-fire. The child is looking over their shoulder to the person taking the picture. There are personal belongings scattered on the floor around the child.
Photo © UNICEF / Sayed Bidel. Children sitting around a wood-fire in the middle of a family camp, in Afghanistan in January 2022.

May 2022 Campaign Update




3 children standing in a a dirt-road alleyway.
Photo © UNHCR / Andrew McConnell.

UAI Statement (7th March 2022)

Frozen assets, Desperate Afghans – Immediate Action is needed

Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) Logo
Blogs and opinions

The Afghan Fund: the Limits of Sovereign Immunity & Recognition Law – By Matei Alexianu, Ali Hakim

The U.S. is holding $3.5 billion of Afghan central bank assets in a trust fund—potentially violating bedrock international legal principles. In an article originally published on Lawfare, the authors detail the international legal principles that are undermined by the creation of the “Afghan Fund”.

A man swings an agricultural tool in a wide movement aimed at poppy plants that surround him. There are mountains in the background.
Blogs and opinions

The eradication of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, bis repetita – By Jean-François Cautain

The Taliban authorities are fighting against poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. Former EU Ambassador and UAI member, Jean-François Cautain, argues that the EU should seize the opportunity to fight against poppy cultivation by supporting farmers in their conversion to other crops.

Two young men walk on a side walk in Kabul, with big cloth bags under on their backs.
Blogs and opinions

Faced with the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Europe must enable the economy to take off again – By Jean-François Cautain

Two years after the Taliban came to power, the people of Afghanistan are facing a dramatic situation. To help them, Europeans must stop modelling their policy on that of the United States in terms of military and security policy, argues Jean-François Cautain, former EU ambassador.

Powerpoint presentation title page with the title of the webinar in bold: Engaging with the Taliban then and now. Also featured are the different speakers and discussants during the webinar.
Blogs and opinions | Events

Engaging with the Taliban then and now: Lessons learned, lessons spurned? – Virtual round-table with Antonio Donini

This round-table was hosted by the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies, with an introductory speech by United Against Humanity’s International Executive Committee member, Antonio Donini who addressed key differences and similarities in engaging the Taliban in the past and today. Here is the video recording of the round-table, below which you can find the description of the event, including of each speaker. This information is provided by the organisers of the event, the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies.

Children walking along a sidewalk in the city.
Blogs and opinions

A Letter From Kabul – By Jean-François Cautain

I am writing from Kabul where I have been living for these past 11 months. I consider myself a friend of Afghanistan, a country full of contrasts that I know since 1986; all in all, I have lived here for a little over 12 years. My return to Afghanistan was motivated by the desire, which I share with my wife who runs a medical NGO in Kabul, to help the Afghan population that is once again hostage to a modern “Great Game”, bringing violence and misery.

Unfreeze Afghan assets or more hungry children may die – By Kostas Moschoritis
Blogs and opinions

Unfreeze Afghan assets or more hungry children may die – By Kostas Moschoritis

As the first anniversary of the return of the Taliban to power approaches, a lot of commentary focuses on the humanitarian crisis and the brutal policies of the new regime. At the same time, it is important not to forget the collapse of the economy and banking system provoked by the decision of the US…

Taliban Policies are a Nightmare; ditto, Economic Warfare and Starvation – By Norah Niland
Blogs and opinions

Taliban Policies are a Nightmare; ditto, Economic Warfare and Starvation – By Norah Niland

Ten months since the Biden Administration blocked the Afghan central bank from accessing the country’s external reserves – resources that belong to the people of Afghanistan – hunger stalks the land adding to the misery of citizens, including women and children, struggling with the consequences of Taliban rule.

Afghanistan UNHCR photo camp
Blogs and opinions

Afghanistan: Economic warfare displaces armed conflict as the core threat to survival – By Antonio Donini

Antonio Donini, co-founder and member of the International Executive Committee of UAI, wrote this article for Atlas of Wars. It was published on the Atlas of Wars website on the 30 April 2022.  Afghanistan is regularly portrayed as “the graveyard of empires”. The British, Soviets and now the US-led coalition have tried and failed to impose their rule…

Afghanistan Campaign – Newsletter March 2022
Blogs and opinions | Newsletter

Afghanistan Campaign – Newsletter March 2022

9 March 2022 Dear Friends and Supporters Yesterday, UAI launched a major campaign to persuade President Biden , government leaders in Germany, Italy and the UK, and the Bank for International Settlements to release reserves belonging to the Afghan Central Bank. Assets with a total value of $9.1 billion are currently frozen in bank accounts…

Plane
Newsletter

Three Vital Issues – January 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friends, The year 2022 begins with a catastrophe unfolding in Afghanistan, fragile signs of a possible conclusion to the conflict in Ethiopia, and renewed evidence of the horrendous treatment being meted out by many governments to people seeking refuge from war and persecution. Afghanistan The situation in Afghanistan only gets worse, with snow and…

US Army drone
Blogs and opinions

Drone usage in the ‘Global War on Terror’: The need for Justice and Accountability for Afghans – By Kaitlin Kaye

Drones have become a prominent feature of the way the United States is waging counter-insurgency operations and has drastically altered the way in which combat is conducted. But with the advent of this controversial weapon & the increasing evidence of civilian harm resulting for it, multiple questions arise on what the effect is going to be on efforts for accountability and justice, particularly in Afghanistan, writes Kaitlin Kaye. 

News icon
Blogs and opinions

International military action in Afghanistan from 2001-2021 and UK asylum policy towards Afghans; an assessment – By Kaitlin Kaye

This is a synopsis, provided by the author, of a Masters dissertation, submitted at the University of Edinburgh. The research was carried out as part of a collaboration between the University and UAI.

Backing the UN can help Afghans facing a tough winter – By Martin Barber and Mark Bowden
Blogs and opinions

Backing the UN can help Afghans facing a tough winter – By Martin Barber and Mark Bowden

While attention is rightly focused on the appalling events at Kabul airport, the potentially catastrophic collapse of the Afghan economy requires immediate action by the international community. Mark Bowden and Martin Barber’s article for Chatham House explains how this can be done.

Afghanistan: Jaw-Jaw is the only Solution – By Antonio Donini and Norah Niland
Blogs and opinions

Afghanistan: Jaw-Jaw is the only Solution – By Antonio Donini and Norah Niland

Antonio Donini and Norah Niland, co-founders of UAI, write on Afghanistan for Global Geneva. Inclusive talks are the only option to end the surge in violence, civilian casualties, displacement and warfare in Afghanistan and build a political framework for a durable peace.

©Khaled Nahiz, The New Humanitarian
Blogs and opinions

Afghanistan: human costs of war, impunity and indifference – By Norah Niland

A new and insightful USA Today report shines an overdue spotlight on the lack of accountability of US military personnel, and the hollowness of their repeated denials of the extent of the death and destruction inflicted on the village of Azizabad close to the Shindand air base, Herat province, western Afghanistan in August 2008.    Brett Murphy of USA…

NY TIMES: One Afghan father’s search for answers after his entire family got wiped out by the US military
Blogs and opinions

NY TIMES: One Afghan father’s search for answers after his entire family got wiped out by the US military

03 June 2019 –  As aerial bombardments increase in Afghanistan, so do civilian casualties – read the story from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism of one Afghan father in search for answers after an airstrike gone wrong destroyed his house and killed his wife and seven children, alongside four young cousins. As the Bureau was able…

News about frozen Afghan funds

Below is a list of published articles and reports providing a context and timeline of the issue at hand. If you are covering the issue please do get in touch with us at .

Vision