Economics of unilateral sanctions of USA in Afghanistan: a critical analysis

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro May 12, 2023

Editor's Note: The author is Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

It seems that economics of humanity is at the lowest ebbs in the priority list of the US foreign policy which has  intentionally imposed unilateral sanctions on other developing countries just to secure its own so-called socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic vested interests. 

In this regard, unfortunately Afghanistan has been in the line of fire because of the US military misadventures and subsequent sanctions for the last twenty five years which has badly affected its national capacity building apparatus to cope with the increasing ratios of poverty, hunger, unemployment and deteriorating law & order situation. Imposition of unilateral sanctions of the US against Afghanistan has been one of the main reasons of instability, disintegration, discrimination and social division in Afghanistan. 

The Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang while visiting Pakistan and chairing the trilateral dialogue between China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan on May 6th rightly projected the inhumane and indecent chronic policies of the US pertaining to sanctions against Afghanistan which widespread miseries among the general masses. 

The Afghan economy, civility, political system, administration, governance  has  been ruined by the US brutal military involvement. Now there are huge derbies instead of signs of development in Afghanistan. There is huge hunger instead of harmony, high poverty instead of socio- economic prosperity and last but not least, instability instead of integrated political system catering the basic necessities of life to its common people.     

Frankly speaking, the socio- economic demise and political instability of Afghanistan is directly correlated with the US perpetual follies and faulty lines in its foreign policy. In this regard, the issue of Afghanistan has never been the responsibility of China and Pakistan alone.

It is good omen that China took the lead and initiated a holistic and comprehensive policy of renewed regionalism by engaging all the regional stakeholders/countries to secure stability, peace and harmony in Afghanistan after abrupt withdrawal of the US and allied forces from its soil.  Moreover, China remained active to initiate a grand meaningful and interactive trilateral dialogue comprising of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan to resolve the numerous complex and complicated issues pertaining to socio- economy, political instability, terrorism, human & drugs trafficking and last but not least, looming threats of human miseries i.e. poverty, hunger, unemployment and social or ethnic unrest in Afghanistan.  

It seems that the US illegal social and economic sanctions as well as the frequent freezing of financial assets at the US Federal Reserve Bank have further damaged the daily lives of common people of Afghanistan. 

In this connection, the US unjustified hurdles in de-freezing of the Afghan Central Bank funds held in the US Federal Reserve have multiple socio-  economic and financial repercussions. The conditional release of the US$3.5 billion has been strongly criticized by the human activists and interim setup of Taliban.    

It seems that the US inhumane delays in unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets have severely damaged its national institutions, society, and governance system. Poverty has become monster and the problem of unemployment is seriously haunting the society and its social fabrics. Food and energy shortages have further undermined its social development pace and produced havocs in the society. 

It suggests that timely and comprehensive unfreezing of funds would help restore economic stability and sustainable economic development in Afghanistan. Unfreezing assets would further reduce the rates of poverty, hunger, unemployment, and inflation.

To conclude, unfortunately Afghanistan has become classic example of dead man walking because of rampant poverty. Right from the beginning, China and Pakistan have been staunch supporters and advocates of stability, peace and harmony in Afghanistan through the assistance of the regional countries by injecting human values and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and its people alike. 

In this regard, China has been providing essential humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan with vaccines, medical equipment, medicine and other anti- epidemic supplies and carrying out cooperation in traditional Chinese Medicine, support the operation of Afghanistan's medical and health systems, and help Afghanistan fight COVID-19.

Time and again, Beijing donated lavish financial and humanitarian assistance to interim setup of Taliban to overcome socio- economic shortcomings and caravan of the Chinese human charity to Afghanistan is still on the rise, trying to transform the lives of common people of Afghanistan.

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