Taliban faces drying up of international financial flows

Taliban faces drying up of international financial flows

From Saturday 14 August, on the eve of the fall of Kabul, residents rushed to banks and ATMs to withdraw their assets. without success. At dawn on Sunday, a few hours before the fall of the capital, endless queues formed in front of banking institutions, which stopped distributing money to account holders. It has since been closed. And Western Union, which provides transfers from abroad, is no longer operating.

The local economy operates mainly through cash payments. But, at the moment, the daily life of the population in Afghanistan has not been turned upside down after the closure of the counters. “Only those who have traveled abroad or who live there are upset today, because their assets in Afghan banks may be lost forever”Ahmed (pseudonym), explains, was contacted by phone in Kabul. A businessman does not trust Afghan financial institutions, ‘The situation is uncertain’.

But how long can the state last, with a financial system almost completely frozen? International funding for Afghanistan is drying up one by one. International aid, which accounts for 42% of GDP, is mostly suspended, the International Monetary Fund has frozen its payments and US authorities have blocked dollar transfers.

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Until then, the country had been receiving, every week, a shipment of dollars, channeled from the United States, drawn from the reserves held by the Central Bank of Afghanistan, DAB. Shortly before the fall of Kabul, the last shipment of stamped pallets of green coins was halted by the US administration. ” Friday [13 août]And I got a call telling me that there would be no more dollars to be sent, while a call was expected on Sunday, the day Kabul fell.”And Explains on Twitter Ajmal Ahmadi, the acting governor of DAB, who fled the country on Sunday the 15th, on a military plane.

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“sand in gears”

However, these dollars are essential to the functioning of the Afghan economy, explains Warren Coates, an American who was an advisor to DAB, between 2002 and 2015. Every week, the central bank organizes an auction of dollars against the local Afghani currency. Foreign exchange offices from all over the country come here to stock up. Thus American currency is sent to the provinces, used to finance trade with neighboring countries – and to keep the savings of the richest residents.

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