The United States blocked billions of dollars of central bank assets made up in part of aid money for the country accumulated over decades after the Taliban took over.

Central bank funds have been frozen since August as the Taliban took over and foreign forces withdrew.
Central bank funds have been frozen since August as the Taliban took over and foreign forces withdrew. (Reuters)

UN independent experts have warned that The United States and Taliban authorities have been contributing to the suffering of women in Afghanistan through asset freezes.

"While gender-based violence has been a long-standing and severe threat to women and girls, it has been exacerbated by the measures imposed by the US...," said a United Nations statement on Monday.

The UN and foreign governments, including Washington, have condemned moves by the Taliban to backtrack on women's rights commitments such as on girls' education in the months following their takeover in August 2021.

However, the statement by 14 UN independent rights experts also blamed the US government for making life worse for Afghan women through blocking billions of dollars of central bank assets made up in part of aid money for the country accumulated over decades.

It also blamed the Taliban's "widening gender-based discrimination" for deteriorating women's rights.

The current humanitarian crisis where 23 million are reliant on food aid is having a "disproportionate impact" on women and children, the statement added.

READ MORE: World Bank: Some 37% Afghan families don't have enough money to buy food

Frozen funds

US President Joe Biden issued an executive order in February to renew the freeze on Central bank funds and said it was working to free up half of that money to help the Afghan people.

The UN experts appointed by the Geneva-based Rights Council called the order's provisions "overly broad." 

The experts also said they were resulting in "over-zealous compliance with sanctions thus preventing people of Afghanistan from any access to basic humanitarian goods".

Under international human rights law, governments including the United States have an obligation to ensure their activities do not result in rights violations, the statement said.

The experts said they formerly relayed their concerns and recommendations to Washington. They have not yet received a reply, they said.

READ MORE: Donors fall short of $4.4B aid as UN paints picture of Afghanistan's hunger

Source: Reuters