On February 11, US President Joe Biden announced the allocation of $3.5bn belonging to the Afghan people to cover lawsuits by 9/11 families. Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves, which this money is part of, had been frozen by the US administration since August 2021, when the Taliban took over Kabul.
The move sent shockwaves far beyond Afghanistan as the country was thrown into yet another phase of the American war: the intentional starvation of the Afghan people. The range of sentiments expressed by media commentators and Afghan and non-Afghan “experts” alike vacillated between anger and shock, horror and surprise.
These reactions seemed to reflect a remarkable insistence, a refusal, to see the US for what it is – a brutal empire through and through. When an empire shows you what it is, believe it.
To be surprised at Biden’s decision to steal Afghan money is to have been invested in the image America has sold to the world: that it is a force for humanitarian good, despite the decades of destruction, the reign of terror it operated with impunity, the torture, renditions, raids, drones, extrajudicial assassinations, and now the mass starvation of an entire nation.
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Photo by: Stringer