‘Victory for the Afghan People’ as US Judge Blocks 9/11 Families From Seizing Frozen Assets

"This money belongs to the Afghan people, and no one else," said Afghans for a Better Tomorrow, a coalition of Afghan-American community groups.

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A coalition of Afghan-American community organizations on Wednesday welcomed a U.S. federal judge's ruling rejecting a bid by relatives of 9/11 victims to seize billions of dollars in assets belonging to the people of Afghanistan.

In a 30-page opinion issued Tuesday, Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York denied an effort by family members of people killed during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States to gain access to $3.5 billion in frozen funds from Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country's central bank.

"The judgment creditors are entitled to collect on their default judgments and be made whole for the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history, but they cannot do so with the funds of the central bank of Afghanistan," Daniels wrote. "The Taliban – not the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Afghan people – must pay for the Taliban's liability in the 9/11 attacks."

The frozen assets are currently being held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the wake of the Taliban's reconquest of the nation that, under the militant group's previous rule, hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other figures involved in planning and executing the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. The 9/11 attacks resulted in a U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that lasted nearly two decades, the longest war in American history.

"We are pleased to see that Judge Daniels shares the same assessment we laid out in our amicus brief to the court: That this money belongs to the Afghan people, and no one else," the coalition – Afghans for a Better Tomorrow (AFBT) – said in a statement.

In February 2022, the Biden administration said it would split $7 billion in frozen DAB funds between the people of Afghanistan and victims of the 9/11 attacks who sued the Taliban – a move that one critic warned would amount to a "death sentence for untold numbers of civilians" in a war-ravaged country reeling from multiple humanitarian crises including widespread starvation.

Last August, US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn said that 9/11 families should not be allowed to use billions of frozen DAB funds to pay off legal judgments against the Taliban.

"Just like the families of the September 11th attack victims, the Afghan people are no stranger to the Taliban's brutality and rule," AFBT co-director Arash Azizzada said. "We support the 9/11 families' quest for just compensation, but believe justice will not be achieved by 'raiding the coffers,' as Judge Daniels put [it], of a people already suffering."

Homaira Hosseini, a board member of coalition member Afghan-American Community Organization (AACO), asserted that "an appeal of this decision, which the 9/11 families have stated they will pursue, will only cause further harm to both Afghans and the families involved."

"We continue to encourage these families to seek legal retribution elsewhere," Hosseini added, "and to not further harm Afghans in the process."

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

11 thoughts on “‘Victory for the Afghan People’ as US Judge Blocks 9/11 Families From Seizing Frozen Assets”

  1. Given the Afghan people back its money! They did not vote in a Taliban government. We lost the war to the Taliban and, like it or not, they are the legitimate government of the country now. Let the Afghan people live!

    1. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Taliban legitimate. That group came out of the religious fanatic group Mujaheddin, which the U.S. made into a much more powerful force than it would ever have been by arming & funding it to fight the Soviet Union. So, no U.S. interference, no Taliban.

      The Taliban are as evil as the U.S. or anyone, nothing at all good about those people. The pro-Soviet government had women equal to men, and was getting people literate. The Taliban fanatics have set this country back hundreds of years, not to mention the immorality of what they do. I actually prefer Afghanistan the way it was before its pro-Soviet government — simple lives, not materialistic, the biggest cultural thing was hashish — but the pro-Soviet government was a million times better than the Taliban.

  2. The assets seized should be those of Saudi Arabia. That’s the country most responsible for the 911 attacks, not Afghanistan. Most Afghanis are really poor, while all but the virtual slaves in Saudi Arabia are rich, so the Saudis can afford to pay.

    Not to mention that the 911 attacks were just the chickens coming home to roost, as Ward Churchill correctly put it.

  3. So these families are still looking for money?
    Its a shame that they didnot go after those who thwarted FBI’s warnings prior to 911 come to surface or make way to presidential morning briefings.

    1. The Global War on Terror should be called “The Global War for Terror” since it has been causing more and more terror and not less of it. I’ve seen lots of “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers. If there are no “Support Our Troops By Bringing Them Back Home”, there should be.

      1. You are absolutely correct friend!

        September 10, 2021 The Bin Ladens and the Bushes: On 9/11 George Herbert W. Bush Meets Osama’s Brother Shafiq bin Laden

        Lest we forget, one day before the 9/11 attacks [as well as on the morning of 9/11, the dad of the sitting President of the United States of America, George Herbert Walker Bush was meeting none other than Shafiq bin Laden, the brother of the alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.


        September 11, 2013 9/11 Debunked in Under 5 Minutes


        Sept 1, 2021 The War on Terror Has Always Been a War on You

        From day one, they’ve attacked your liberty in big ways – and they’re not even close to being done yet.


  4. Thanks to Judge George D Daniels and G-d who would heartedly concur with this brave judge. Not only did the Biden scheme rob the beleaguered Afghan people, The law appeared to me to also have a provision that would have enriched Washing’s “White Shoe Law firms” many hundreds of millions of the “stolen” funds. Has America and its cleft politicians really stooped this low, throb the victims of our illegal war on Afghanistan…??????? While we are stealing the Syrian’s oil. Is this America’s fate to become a hold-up artist nation, willing to steal the meager savings of the victims of our was machine for million dollar a year attorneys in our capitol…????? Who got Sadam Hosain’s gold and money…??? Where did Gadaffi’s gold and money go…?????

  5. The judgement against “the Taliban” was a kangaroo court; there has NEVER been any direct link between “the Taliban” as a political organization and the 9/11 attacks. Just another pathetic money grab by the “9/11 victims” and their despicable lawyers, who no amount of money will ever satisfy. They are already, by far, the most coddled group of “victims” in history.
    Someone should seize overseas assets of the US government and distribute them to the afghan and iraqi victims of our invasions; at least there one can establish a clear linkage of responsibility.

    1. In addition to agreeing with what you wrote, I’d also say this: The U.S. is responsible for the creation of the Taliban in the first place (see my response to pal_2002 above), so it doesn’t get to complain about the Taliban as far as I’m concerned.

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