More than half of Afghanistan’s population faces life-threatening food insecurity this winter in large part because the United States and other Western countries are engaging in economic warfare against the Afghan people.
The Biden administration has criminally frozen $9.5 billion in central bank assets that rightfully belong to Afghanistan. After decades of disastrous imperial intervention and occupation, this policy threatens to derail Afghanistan’s fragile economy, fueling an acute crisis that threatens poverty, starvation and death. Millions of Afghans, including one million children, could die this winter from starvation if the economic policies devastating Afghanistan are not reversed.
The DSA International Committee calls on the United States government to end all sanctions suffocating the people of Afghanistan, unfreeze the full $9.5 billion in frozen central bank assets, and use its voice and vote at the World Bank, IMF and other multilateral institutions to ensure that they do the same.
Following the US withdrawal and Taliban takeover, a combination of underlying precarity, the sudden loss of foreign aid, and US and other governments’ economic attacks have led to the near-total collapse of the import- and dollar-dependent Afghan economy. Liquidity crisis, inflation, financial collapse, unemployment, empty grocery store shelves, poverty, starvation—this is what the people of Afghanistan can expect in what humanitarian groups have called “a winter of absolute desperation.”
Having first fomented, and then directly waged decades of catastrophic warfare in the country, the United States already bore immense responsibility for Afghanistan’s crisis conditions. The decision to turn to economic warfare and seize the assets rightfully owned by the Afghan people has only added to this shameful culpability. While the lifting of sanctions and release of assets alone may not be enough to avert the suffering, it could provide a critical backstop to the vicious depreciation cycle and help to prevent the worst case scenario.
As socialists living in the imperial core, it is our particular obligation to combat US imperial aggression. While the Afghan people face repression from many sources, including their own government, it is the United States government that threatens to sacrifice the lives of millions of people under the guise of support for their human rights, and against whom we must primarily direct our struggle.
This must only be the start. From opening the borders to Afghan refugees, to paying reparations for the tolls of our imperial ventures, to ending all US military operations, including drone and covert warfare, that continue to plague the country to this day, the debt that the United States owes to the people of Afghanistan is immeasurable. The DSA IC commits to the struggle for its repayment.