Afghanistan’s central bank on Saturday rejected US President Joe Biden’s executive order to seize half of $7 billion in assets held in US financial institutions, saying the money belongs to the people of Afghanistan, not any government or group.

In a statement, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) stated that the decision to block their foreign exchange reserves and allocate them to “irrelevant” purposes is an injustice to the people of Afghanistan.

It will never accept the country’s reserves being paid under the name of compensation or humanitarian assistance to others, and urged reversal of the decision and the release of all the reserves, it said.

Biden issued an executive order on Friday splitting Afghanistan’s central bank’s $7 billion in assets, allocating half for humanitarian relief to the poverty-stricken country ravaged by 42 years of war, while keeping the other half available for compensation to victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Al-Qaeda, which the US holds responsible for the attacks, had taken shelter in Afghanistan in the early 2000s, when the Taliban was in power. An interim Taliban administration returned to power last August.

According to the Afghan bank, it is responsible for preserving and managing the country’s foreign reserves in line with international law. The foreign reserves are utilized to implement monetary policy, facilitate international trade, and stabilize the financial sector, it added.

“The real owners of these reserves are the people of Afghanistan. These reserves were not and are not the property of governments, parties, or groups and are never used as per their demand or decisions,” it said.

It emphasized that the foreign reserves are managed in line with international practices, and the condition of these reserves is regularly and carefully monitored.

The statement noted that a certain portion of these reserves is invested in the US as per the accepted rules to be secure and be available for the bank to achieve its determined objectives.

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