Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks at the UN General Assembly Emergency Special Session on Ukraine at the UN headquarters in New York, Oct 12, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
UNITED NATIONS – A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called on the United States and other countries to immediately return the overseas assets of Afghanistan to the Afghan people to protect the rights and interests of women and girls.
Addressing a Security Council meeting, Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said the overseas assets "belong to the Afghan people and should be used for the Afghan people"
After the "Kabul debacle" in 2021, the United States announced that it would freeze some $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank, a move some consider "pure looting".
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Addressing a Security Council meeting, Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said the overseas assets "belong to the Afghan people and should be used for the Afghan people."
Citing the ruling by a US judge of the District Court for the Southern District of New York in February that the United States is not entitled to divert Afghan overseas assets for other uses, Geng said this showed once again "the freezing of Afghan assets is unjustified and illegal."
"Today is International Women's Day. On this special day, as we consider the situation of Afghanistan, we cannot help but turn our attention to Afghan women. They are a vulnerable group in Afghan society and the biggest victims of the many years of war and turmoil," he said.
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The protection of the rights and interests of Afghan women and girls cannot be achieved without lifting external constraints, Geng said, stressing that unilateral sanctions have become a "heavy yoke" for the survival and development of local women and children and must be lifted without delay.
The United States froze the assets belonging to the Afghan central bank after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021 and split the money between humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and a fund for victims of the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.