Taliban won’t get access to US reserves

Published August 17, 2021
A Taliban fighter runs towards crowd outside Kabul airport on August 16. — Reuters
A Taliban fighter runs towards crowd outside Kabul airport on August 16. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The Taliban will be denied access to any Afghan reserves held in US accounts, a US administration official said on Monday.

As US forces were evacuating Afghanistan’s capital after the Taliban’s swift takeover, the official said: “Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.” The central bank’s gross reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April, according to the IMF.

But most of those funds are held outside of Afghanistan, according to a person familiar with the matter. It was not immediately clear what share of the assets are held in the United States.

The country’s central bank governor Ajmal Ahmady went to Twitter to detail his harrowing escape from the country on a military plane on Sunday, after he and his team tried to stabilize the currency amid the Taliban advance towards the capital.

Ahmady, who did not say where he was, said the central bank was informed on Friday that “given the deteriorating environment, we wouldn’t get any more dollar shipments,” and he met on Saturday with banks and money exchangers to reassure them.

“Once (the) president’s departure was announced, I knew within minutes chaos would follow. I cannot forgive him for creating that without a transition plan,” he tweeted Monday.

“It did not have to end this way. I am disgusted by the lack of any planning by Afghan leadership. Saw at airport them leave without informing others.”

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2021

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