Written by Amani Nilar
03 Nov, 2021 | 5:24 pm
(News 1st); The Taliban has announced a complete ban on the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan, a move certain to cause further disruption to an economy pushed to the brink of collapse by the abrupt withdrawal of international support in the wake of the group’s takeover of the country.
The surprise announcement came hours after a coordinated gun and bomb attack on Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital in the capital, Kabul, killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens more.
“The Islamic Emirate instructs all citizens, shopkeepers, traders, businessmen and the general public to … conduct all transactions in Afghanis and strictly refrain from using foreign currency,” the Taliban said in a statement by spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
“Anyone violating this order will face legal action,” the statement read.
The use of US dollars is widespread in Afghanistan’s markets, while border areas use the currency of neighboring countries such as Pakistan for trade.
However, the Taliban’s government is pressing for the release of billions of dollars of central bank reserves as the drought-stricken nation faces a cash crunch, mass starvation and a new migration crisis.
Afghanistan’s previous Western-backed government had parked billions of dollars in assets overseas with the United States Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe.
But after the Taliban took over the country in August, the US, as well as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), decided to block Afghanistan’s access to more than $9.5bn in assets and loans.
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