“Mr. Mehrabi has proposed that the Biden administration allow monthly transfers of small amounts of the frozen funds for the sole purpose of auctioning off dollars to private banks. Such auctions are easy to monitor and could be cut off if the money was used for any other purpose, he said. Such an arrangement would bolster the hand of technocrats who have continued to work under the Taliban. It could be conditioned on their independence from the Taliban or on hiring certain technical staff members. Refusing to release any portion of the funds as long as the Taliban are in power would remove the money as a source of leverage.
Given the Sept. 11 lawsuit, it may not be possible to free up the funds frozen in New York in time to stave off a crisis. It may be more realistic for funds to be released from the banks in Europe, which hold a smaller but still significant amount of the Afghanistan central bank’s money. Since commercial banks in Afghanistan are required to keep some reserves in the central bank, hundreds of millions of dollars in the frozen overseas accounts are part of the life savings of Afghan citizens, which should not be rendered inaccessible because the Taliban took over the country.
It would not cost American taxpayers a dime to issue letters of comfort to European banks to make it clear that they will not be punished for giving private Afghan citizens access to their money. If this doesn’t happen, the world will be treated to the spectacle of Americans and Europeans paying to mitigate a humanitarian disaster caused, in part, by the fact that many Afghans have been cut off from their own money.”
How much money has been spent?
“The vast majority of spending in Afghanistan has come from the US.
Between 2010 to 2012, when the US for a time had more than 100,000 soldiers in the country, the cost of the war grew to almost $100bn a year, according to US government figures.
As the US military shifted its focus away from offensive operations and concentrated more on training up Afghan forces, costs fell sharply.
According to the US Department of Defense, the total military expenditure in Afghanistan (from October 2001 until September 2019) had reached $778bn.
In addition, the US state department – along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other government agencies – spent $44bn on reconstruction projects.
That brings the total cost – based on official data – to $822bn between 2001 and 2019, but it doesn’t include any spending in Pakistan, which the US uses as a base for Afghan-related operations.
According to a Brown University study in 2019, which has looked at war spending in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US had spent around $978bn (their estimate also includes money allocated for the 2020 fiscal year).”
Source: Afghanistan: What has the conflict cost the US and its allies? – BBC News
“. . . Focusing on the execution of the withdrawal is giving virtually everyone who insisted we could remake Afghanistan the opportunity to obscure their failures by pretending to believe in the possibility of a graceful departure. It’s also obscuring the true alternative to withdrawal: endless occupation. But what our ignominious exit really reflects is the failure of America’s foreign policy establishment at both prediction and policymaking in Afghanistan.
“The pro-war crowd sees this as a mechanism by which they can absolve themselves of an accounting for the last 20 years,” Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, told me. “Just think about the epic size of this policy failure. Twenty years of training. More than $2 trillion worth of expenditure. For almost nothing. It is heartbreaking to watch these images, but it is equally heartbreaking to think about all of the effort, of lives and money we wasted in pursuit of a goal that was illusory.” “