Biden’s Punishment of Desperate Afghanistan

As aid groups try to rally donors for a country in dire straits, the U.S. president is blocking reserves and continuing to impose crippling sanctions. 

President Joe Biden’s speech about U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, April 14, 2021. (C-Span still)

By  Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

An international aid group warned last week that Afghanistan is on the brink of complete collapse as the Biden administration and European governments refuse to release the war-torn nation’s central bank reserves, depriving the economy of critical funds as millions face poverty and starvation.

In a statement ahead of an international donor conference for Afghanistan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said the country “is now the world’s largest-ever humanitarian appeal, requiring a staggering $4.47 billion in humanitarian aid — quadruple the needs at the start of 2021 and more than is required for either Syria or Yemen.”

Since the Taliban retook power last August following two decades of U.S.-led warfare, IRC noted, “the speed of Afghanistan’s economic collapse has been unprecedented.” Following the withdrawal of American troops, the Biden administration froze billions of dollars in Afghan central bank assets held in the U.S. despite warnings that the move would push the country closer to full-scale economic ruin.

Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order aiming to permanently seize Afghanistan’s assets and split them between the families of 9/11 victims and an ill-defined “trust fund” for Afghans. Blocked from accessing its own reserves, Kabul has struggled to afford even the import taxes on containers of badly needed food.

Moreover, the Biden administration has left in place crippling economic sanctions that could kill more civilians than 20 years of war, according to one analyst.

European governments and international institutions also took punitive steps following the Taliban’s return to power, suspending financing for projects in Afghanistan and leaving humanitarian groups on the ground without the resources needed to help the growing number of sick and malnourished Afghans.

“Afghans that could support themselves and their families six months ago are now entirely dependent on aid,” IRC said Wednesday. “With each week that goes by, more Afghans are forced to resort to the unimaginable to survive: since August, the number of Afghans resorting to negative coping capacities has risen sixfold, such as selling young daughters into marriage, pulling children out of school to work, selling organs, skipping meals, or taking on high levels of debt.”

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Afghans desperate for cash to feed their families are turning to “backbreaking work” in the notoriously dangerous mines of northern Afghanistan. Some toiling in the mines are as young as 10 years old, according to the newspaper.

UNICEF recently warned that more than a million Afghan children will need treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year and 13 million kids in total will need humanitarian assistance.

Jake Johnson is a reporter for Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

21 comments for “Biden’s Punishment of Desperate Afghanistan

  1. April 4, 2022 at 17:19

    I have read that both Russia and China are trying to stabilize Afghanistan. I only hope and pray this is so.

  2. Joe Wallace
    April 4, 2022 at 16:11

    By what calculus has it been determined that the loss of millions of Afghan lives will have been “worth it?”

    • Blessthebeasts
      April 5, 2022 at 12:28

      These people’s lives are worth nothing in the eyes of our imperial rulers. Neither are those of anyone other than the members of their criminal cabal. To see them even pretend to care is ludicrous.

  3. Beverly
    April 4, 2022 at 15:58

    What the pathetic U.S. is doing to Afghanistan, besides displaying that they are childish losers, is called “Collective Punishment” in international law. Collective punishment is a war crime and, on that scale, a crime against humanity.

    Has anyone noticed the U.S. regime and NATO having an emotional fit over an alleged massacre in the Ukrainian city of Bucha that the Biden regime and Ukraine are blaming on Russia, and are calling for a war crimes tribunal?

    Interesting, isn’t it. The world’s preeminent perpetrator of war crimes exempts itself from justice. Who gives the imperial and fascist U.S. the right to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity?

  4. Whatatumble
    April 4, 2022 at 15:26

    “Biden’s Punishment of Desperate Afghanistan”

    Another example of The Jaw-Dropping Power of US Propaganda

  5. irina
    April 4, 2022 at 14:02

    Starving people to death is so much more discreet than bombing them.

  6. Sierra7
    April 4, 2022 at 13:50

    Absolute petty vindictiveness! Afghanistan has been “atrocitied”!

  7. Figleaf23
    April 4, 2022 at 12:28

    Biden’s vicious punishment of Afghanstan’s citizens is grotesque.
    But his vicious punishment of America’s citizens is inexplicable.

  8. Ken Hunkins
    April 4, 2022 at 12:01

    If the greedy owned every thing of value but one single apple they would still want that one.
    Guess our problem with evasive harmony comes down to that single word. Greed!

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    April 4, 2022 at 11:01

    Thieves! Creep! But one day there will be a price to pay for all this.

  10. renate
    April 4, 2022 at 10:16

    Not a single elected member of government has spoken up against the inhumanity, the evil they do in our name. Words fail me, Biden is a real killer. The real war criminals sit in Washington D.C.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      April 4, 2022 at 11:04

      Has been their ‘residence’ for many, many years already.

    • charlie
      April 4, 2022 at 21:16

      Totally…its true. We have done such an amazing amount of damage to the world and its people. Afganistan has been brutalized and then robbed and starved to death….I also guaantee that huge amounts of money have been taken in the heroin trade.

      • Realist
        April 5, 2022 at 14:43

        Ol’ Squinty-eyed Joe has been acting like, dare I say it, the real “Hitler” with his vile rants, accusations and threats.

        Truth be told, the man is senile and not fit to govern. None of the first three in the presidential succession are fit to serve their offices, not Cackling Kamala, nor Amnesic Nancy.

        Our entire generation of high office holders, including Biden, Trump, Bush, Cheney, and the Clintons have seen better days, lost their political savvy along with their minds and now only make things progressively worse by clinging to the simple solutions of “Russia bad,” “China bad,” and Need make war!” Yes, the public is gullible and are prone to buying pipe dreams, but a leader should exhibit at least a couple of IQ points above the mean. But this crew get more slapstick with each passing day. They’ve collectively taken us from the end of the Cold War back to an even worse Cold War which is on the precipice of an end-all World War. That lot representing the affairs of Europe, though mostly younger, have not been a corrective force but have only exacerbated the situation with their slavish pandering to Washington’s every ill-conceived whim.

        If Europe cannot be counted on to act in its own best interests and the future of the entire planet by bucking Washington’s extreme bellicosity, I guess we will all be forced to make a changing of the guard the hard way, by picking amongst the survivors of a nuclear Armageddon.

  11. Zim
    April 4, 2022 at 09:07

    No imperial humiliation will go unpunished. #EndTheEmpireOfLies

  12. TP Graf
    April 4, 2022 at 06:04

    We (USA) are evil. There is no other explanation for our diabolical policies.

    • fuzzy
      April 4, 2022 at 10:20

      Absolutely agree. What is the point of these sanctions? To prevent China from grabbing Afghanistan?

      • Vera Gottlieb
        April 4, 2022 at 11:03

        These sanctions have already started to boomerang. We need to get out from under ‘Americanism’ and start thinking for ourselves.

      • April 4, 2022 at 14:10

        It would serve us right if China steps in and helps Afghanistan get back on its feet while working on contracts for the minerals underground. This would strengthen China even more.

        • Beverly
          April 4, 2022 at 16:05

          The Chinese are already providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and have been doing so since last July. Here is a video that shows a container freight train with 1000 metric tons of supplies leaving Xinyang province in the winter….

    • renate
      April 4, 2022 at 13:10

      Evil and diabolic are the words for it. There have been no elected officials with a word of a critic of the Biden government just as in the Ukrainian war. None of the sanctions have been approved by the UN, it is really a bloodless but long-suffering slow-motion genocide. All of it on civilians, on the most vulnerable young children.

Comments are closed.