New York: A US judge has ruled that victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were not entitled to seize $3.5 billion in assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank.
In his 30-page ruling, Judge George Daniels said he was “constitutionally restrained” from approving access to the funds, which are frozen in the US, as this would amount to a ruling that the Taliban were Afghanistan’s legitimate government, reports the NNC.
He noted that President Joe Biden’s administration did not recognize the Taliban, which meant US courts did not have the power to do so either. “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.
“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,” Daniels added.
At the time of the attacks in 2001, the Taliban had allowed Al Qaeda militants to operate from Afghanistan. The judge’s ruling is a defeat for those who had claimed some of the $7 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank funds frozen at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, the BBC reported.
“This decision deprives over 10,000 members of the 9/11 community of their right to collect compensation from the Taliban,” said Lee Wolosky, a lawyer who argued for victims’ compensation.
“We believe it is wrongly decided and will appeal.”