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Deadline Nears for US on Seized Afghan Funds Sought By 9/11 Victims

People in Afghanistan have protested against the freeze, and the U.N. secretary-general has called for a release of the funds.
Deadline Nears for US on Seized Afghan Funds Sought By 9/11 Victims
FILE – Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into them, in New York City, Sept. 11, 2001

Freeze it indefinitely, return it to Afghanistan or give it to 9/11 victims’ families? The Biden administration has until February 11 to tell a U.S. court what it thinks should happen to $7 billion of Afghan government funds currently frozen at the New York Federal Reserve.

Judges twice extended deadlines this year to give the government more time to sort out the legal logistics in the case, but for Andrew Maloney, a lawyer representing about 150 relatives of the 9/11 victims, the fate of the funds should have been decided “yesterday.”

“We'd like it to be done immediately,” Maloney told VOA. “We think it should be immediately put into an account that allows the court to make sure it is distributed evenly and fairly … to families who lost someone on 9/11.”

Others say the funds belong to the Afghan people and should be released to help mitigate economic and humanitarian crises in the country.

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