February 11, 2022

President Biden signs new EO and issues Fact Sheet to address the preservation of property for the Afghan people

On February 11, 2022, President Biden signed a new Executive Order on Protecting Certain Property of Da Afghanistan Bank for the Benefit of the People of Afghanistan.  Under the new EO, President Biden declares a national emergency to address the threat to US national security caused by the widespread humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which affects the ability of the people of Afghanistan to access food, water, shelter and other basic human needs, and is contributing to a possible economic collapse in Afghanistan.  In anticipation of various parties asserting legal claims against certain property of the Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the EO blocks all interests and property of the DAB held in the US or by any US financial institution, and orders all US financial institutions to transfer blocked funds into a consolidated account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  

According to a Fact Sheet issued by the White House in connection with new EO, many US victims of terrorism have filed claims against the Taliban and are seeking to access DAB assets in US federal court.  While these plaintiffs will have an opportunity to have their claims heard in court, the White House reports that EO is aimed at preserving a substantial portion of Afghanistan’s reserves – specifically $3.5 billion in DAB assets – for the future of Afghanistan and for the benefit of the Afghan people pending a judicial decision.  The White House also reports that the US will continue to work with the international community to ensure that humanitarian aid will continue to flow to the people of Afghanistan.

Department of Treasury Recent Action | Executive Order | White House Fact Sheet