Vasily Nebenzya
© TASS
Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya
Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya has called on the US to "return the money stolen from the Afghan people" rather than demanding others to contribute more to fund the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

"It is you who must pay for your own mistakes," Nebenzya said on Tuesday, addressing the US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who claimed during a Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Afghanistan that Russia contributed too little to funding the rebuilding of a country ruined in 20 years of war and occupation by the US and its allies.

"And, for starters, it is necessary to return the money stolen from the Afghan people back to them," the Russian envoy said. "We have been helping and will help Afghanistan. And we suggest that you focus on paying the bills to the Afghan people for the 20 years of [your] pointless occupation, which destroyed Afghanistan and which put its people on the brink of survival."

Mockingly rebuking the remarks made by his American counterpart, Nebenzya said, "From the long-winded speculations of our US colleagues, this could be perceived as a call to Russia and China to pay for the restoration of Afghanistan. Allegedly, it is the US and its allies who are paying for everything, while all that Russia and China only do is just empty talk."

"The cynicism of such claims is simply shocking," he said, pointing out that, "We are being called upon to pay for restoring the country whose economy was effectively destroyed by the 20-year-long occupation by the US and NATO," referring to the US-led military alliance, which participated in the occupation of Afghanistan.

"Instead of admitting its own mistakes and trying to fix them, we are being accused of being unwilling to pay for someone else's bill," Nebenzya said. "It is an interesting proposal."

The remarks came after the US President Joe Biden administration declared earlier this month that it did not plan to release billions of dollars in frozen Afghan government assets anytime soon, invoking alleged concerns that the funds could end up in the hands of "terrorists."

The decision not to release the Afghan funds came nearly six months after Biden signed an executive order allowing the frozen assets to potentially fund litigation brought by the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US.

However, a US judge ruled just last week that the victims of the 9/11 attacks should not be allowed to seize the Afghan assets.

Slamming the remarks of his US counterpart during Tuesday's UNSC session of Afghanistan, the Russian UN envoy further said, "Not everything can be measured in money. The lives of those who died during your imposition of democracy in Afghanistan cannot be measured with money; nor can money buy the loyalty of the people of Afghanistan, which the US has completely lost, apparently."

US fearing Afghanistan planning attack on US homeland

The US military said it killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul on July 31, claiming that the terrorist leader had been living in the heart of the Afghan capital. US officials have since cited that issue as proof that the Taliban may be harboring al-Qaeda. The Taliban have rejected such speculation.

Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray cited alleged concerns about al-Qaeda's potential threat, saying during a congressional hearing, "I'm worried about the possibility that we will see al-Qaeda reconstitute."

Asked if he was worried about an attack on the US homeland "emanating from places like Afghanistan," Wray said, "We are. Especially now that we're out, I'm worried about the potential loss of sources and collection over there."

US troops withdrew from Afghanistan almost a year ago, after the Taliban signed the 2020 Doha deal, in which they agreed not to allow Afghanistan to be used again as a launchpad for international terrorists.

Afghanistan's Taliban administration has repeatedly called on foreign governments to roll back the sanctions imposed on Kabul and unfreeze the country's Central Bank assets.

Afghan health experts have issued a stern warning about the dire healthcare situation in the country, exacerbated by a medicine shortage linked to the nation's frozen assets in the United States. They say urgent action is needed to contain the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a measles outbreak in the country while citing acute malnutrition as another health problem requiring swift action.