Taliban seize $ 12.4 million from former officials as cash-strapped militant group desperately searches for cash flow

Afghans line up outside a bank to withdraw their money following the Taliban takeover in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 1, 2021. REUTERS / Stringer / File Photo REUTERS / Stringer / File Photo

  • The Taliban took more than $ 12 million in cash and gold from former government officials.

  • Much of the money was found at the home of the former vice president, AFP reported.

  • Afghan banks are facing a cash shortage and may soon have to close their doors to the public.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Afghanistan’s central bank says the Taliban took more than $ 12 million in cash and gold from former Afghan government officials as the country faces financial crisis, AFP reported Wednesday.

Much of the money was found at the home of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, whose fate is currently unknown, Reuters noted Wednesday.

“The money collected came from senior officials (…) and a number of national security agencies who kept silver and gold in their homes,” the central bank said in a statement, and urged Afghans to conduct all transactions in local currency.

“All Afghans in government and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to use Afghan in their contracts and economic transactions,” he said.

Afghan banks face a lack of money and may have to shut down to the public soon unless the Taliban release more funds.

The cash shortage has been going on for weeks and bankers fear the situation could lead to inflation in food and electricity prices.

In an attempt to recover assets belonging to the previous government, the central bank asked local banks to freeze the accounts of some people linked to the previous government, Reuters reported.

During this time, the Taliban were unable to get his hands on the nearly $ 10 billion reserves of the Afghan central bank. Most of the central bank’s $ 9.5 billion in assets, some of which is held in New York, were frozen by the United States in August after the fall of the Afghan government.

Without money, the Taliban lack sufficient funds. And the Taliban may never see these funds stranded, Previously reported insider.

Foreign aid has dried up in Afghanistan now that the United States and its Western allies have withdrawn their forces. The International Monetary Fund and world Bank also halted financial support to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.

The Taliban are facing an economic crisis and need help quickly.

China has stepped in to fill at least part of the void left following the US pullout, recently pledging to offer $ 31 million value of aid to Afghanistan. In early September, a Taliban spokesman called China “the most important partner”.

“He is ready to invest and rebuild our country”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid noted at the time.

China on Wednesday called for the thaw of Afghan government funds held outside the country.

“These assets belong to Afghanistan and the Afghan people,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to ABC News.

“The United States should face Afghanistan’s justified and reasonable appeals, drop the imposition of sanctions and pressures, and not hamper the economy, livelihoods and peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan,” he said added Zhao.

Pakistan, whose relations with the Taliban have often been scrutinized by Western governments, also offered help.

Meanwhile, the UN has issued warnings in recent days of the potential for a serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at an emergency donor conference on Monday said the Afghan people “need a lifeline”.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they are perhaps facing their most perilous hour,” said Guterres, noting that one in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from.

The international community is committed over a billion dollars in aid of the reunion afghanistan. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States’ ambassador to the UN, said the United States will provide $ 64 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

But some fear the Taliban will interfere with aid delivery, which Thomas-Greenfield has acknowledged.

“We have all heard reports that the Taliban obstruct and interfere with aid delivery and protection efforts, prohibiting female personnel from saving lives and even demanding retaliation against those benefiting from it. helping or providing it, ”the ambassador said. noted at the high-level meeting of the United Nations. “It is frightening and unacceptable and, frankly, destabilizing for Afghanistan and the region. It cannot go on.”

The Taliban have sought to present themselves as a moderate entity than in the past since the takeover of the country, including ensuring the safety of aid workers, but the UN has warned that the militant group the words don’t match his actions.

The United States has not officially recognized the new Taliban-controlled government in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers this week that whether the United States recognizes the Taliban or not depends on its “conduct” moving forward.

“The legitimacy and support he seeks from the international community will depend entirely on his conduct,” Blinken said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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