US judge says 9/11 victims not entitled to Afghan bank assets | News

Seizure of central financial institution property would successfully acknowledge the Taliban because the reliable authorities of Afghanistan, choose says.

A United States choose has beneficial that victims of the September 11, 2001 assaults not be allowed to grab billions of {dollars} of property belonging to Afghanistan’s central financial institution to fulfill court docket judgements they obtained in opposition to the Taliban.

After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, governments and worldwide establishments froze the nation’s central financial institution property held overseas, totalling about $10bn. About $7bn of that was held within the US and different nations maintain about $2bn.

Western governments have refused to recognise the Taliban because the reliable authorities of Afghanistan and the cash has remained in limbo. Non-recognition of the Taliban authorities undermines its possession of the frozen central financial institution property.

US Justice of the Peace Choose Sarah Netburn in Manhattan stated on Friday that Da Afghanistan Financial institution (DAB) – the central financial institution – was immune from jurisdiction. Permitting the seizures of the financial institution’s property would successfully acknowledge the Taliban because the reliable authorities of Afghanistan, one thing solely the US president can do, the choose stated.

“The Taliban’s victims have fought for years for justice, accountability, and compensation. They’re entitled to no much less,” choose Netburn wrote.

“However the regulation limits what compensation the court docket might authorise, and people limits put the DAB’s property past its authority.”

Netburn’s advice might be reviewed by US District Choose George Daniels in Manhattan, who additionally oversees the litigation and might determine whether or not to simply accept her advice.

Defeat for collectors

Almost 3,000 individuals died on September 11, 2001, when planes had been flown into New York’s World Commerce Middle, the Pentagon in northern Virginia, and a Pennsylvania area.

The choice on Friday is a defeat for 4 teams of collectors that sued quite a lot of defendants who they held liable for the September 11 assaults.

Legal professionals for the creditor teams didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Friday.

Following the Taliban’s takeover final yr, a bunch of households of about 150 US victims of the September 11 assaults stated they had been owed some $7bn from the Afghan property held by the Federal Reserve of New York.

That sum was awarded by a federal choose in 2012 following a default judgement in opposition to an array of defendants – together with the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Iran – who didn’t present up in court docket.

On the time of the assaults in 2001, the ruling Taliban had allowed al-Qaeda to function inside Afghanistan.

The Taliban has repeatedly known as on the US and different governments and establishments to launch the frozen financial institution funds, saying they had been wanted to stabilise Afghanistan’s ravaged economic system and stop a humanitarian disaster.

In an govt order in February, US President Joe Biden ordered $3.5bn of the financial institution’s property to be put aside “for the advantage of the Afghan individuals”, leaving victims of the September 11 assaults to pursue the rest in court docket.

The US authorities took no place on the time on whether or not the creditor teams had been entitled to recuperate funds below the US’s Terrorist Danger Insurance coverage Act of 2002. It did urge judges Netburn and Daniels to view exceptions to sovereign immunity narrowly, citing the dangers of interference with the US president’s energy to conduct overseas relations, and doable challenges to American property positioned overseas.

Shawn Van Diver, the pinnacle of #AfghanEvac, which helps evacuate and resettle Afghans, stated he hoped the frozen funds could possibly be used to assist the struggling Afghan economic system with out enriching the Taliban.

“The choose has completed the proper factor right here,” he stated.

US sanctions ban doing monetary enterprise with the Taliban, however enable humanitarian help for the Afghan individuals.

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