Taliban officials asked Congress to end U.S. sanctions and to free up Afghan assets, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Afghan citizens are being deprived of civil services in the health and education sectors because officials can’t access the access, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said, according to the AP. The Taliban seized power of the country in mid-August as U.S. forces withdrew from Kabul.
“American sanctions have not only played havoc with trade and business, but also with humanitarian assistance,” Muttaqi said in an open letter to Congress, the AP reported.
The World Food Program found that millions of Afghans are living in poverty and around 8.7 million of the 40 million living in Afghanistan will likely face “famine-like conditions,” according to the AP. On top of that, another 14.1 million people are dealing with food insecurity and some 600,000 displaced people in the country are only adding to widespread poverty.
The ruling Taliban leadership is also dealing with several militant attacks targeting civilian institutions, including places of worship, schools and medical centers, the AP reported. The attacks have killed several people and mostly targeted religious minorities across the country.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks while other incidents are under open investigations, according to the AP.