Federal Council grants privileges, immunities to Afghan Fund in Swiss

The Federal Council and the Afghan Fund have signed an agreement granting privileges and immunities to the foundation in Switzerland, effective as of Feb. 1, according to a statement by the Swiss government.

This agreement, as stated by the Swiss government, acknowledges the international importance of the Afghan Fund and ensures the safeguarding of its assets in Switzerland.

The agreement was approved by the Federal Council on Dec. 15, 2023, and subsequently entered into force following its signing by both parties.

According to the government statement, this agreement, grounded in the Host State Act, assures the Afghan Fund’s independence, functionality, and the protection of its assets.

Established in September 2022 under Swiss law, the Afghan Fund holds approximately $3.6 billion in assets for the Afghan people’s benefit, aiming to secure their future prospects.

The fund’s board of trustees is authorized to make specific disbursements for the Afghan people, including payments for essential imports like energy, to meet basic needs and promote economic stability in Afghanistan.

The fund serves as an international instrument to help alleviate Afghanistan’s economic crisis, with a medium to long-term goal of returning the remaining assets to Afghanistan’s central bank.

The board of trustees, which includes Switzerland as a member since the foundation’s establishment, is tasked with allocating funds in a way that benefits the Afghan people. This includes adherence to all relevant sanctions regimes and ensuring that transfers to the Taliban-run central bank of Afghanistan occur only if the bank demonstrates political independence and effective measures against money laundering and terrorist financing.