Taliban Ban Use of Foreign Currency Across Afghanistan | New
The Taliban say those who continue to trade using foreign currency will face legal action.
The Taliban have announced a total ban on the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan, a move that is sure to further disrupt an economy pushed to the brink of collapse by the abrupt withdrawal of international support following the takeover of the country by the group.
Tuesday’s surprise announcement came hours after a coordinated gun and bomb attack on Afghanistan’s largest military hospital in the capital, Kabul, left at least 19 dead and dozens injured.
“The Islamic Emirate calls on all citizens, traders, traders, businessmen and the general public (…) to carry out all transactions in Afghanis and to strictly refrain from using foreign currency”, said the Taliban said in a statement posted online by spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.
“Anyone violating this order will face legal action,” the statement said.
The use of the US dollar is widespread in the Afghan markets, while the border areas use the currency of neighboring countries like Pakistan for trade.
The Taliban government is pushing for the release of billions of dollars in central bank reserves as the drought-stricken country faces a cash crunch, massive famine and yet another migration crisis.
The previous Western-backed Afghan government deposited billions of dollars in overseas assets with the US Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe.
But after the Taliban took control of the country in August, the United States, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), decided to block Afghanistan’s access to more than 9.5 billion dollars in assets and loans.
The decision has had a devastating effect on health care in Afghanistan and other sectors, all of which are struggling to continue operations amid reduced international aid.
As a harsh winter approaches, Sulaiman Bin Shah, the former deputy minister of industry and trade, told Al Jazeera late last month that the Afghan people “are paying a huge price because of the slowness of diplomatic processes and negotiations ”.
The World Food Program said some 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million people – face acute food insecurity and “were on the verge of famine,” up from 14 million ago. is barely two months old.
The food crisis, exacerbated by climate change, was severe in Afghanistan even before the Taliban took power.
Aid groups urge countries, concerned about human rights under the Taliban, to engage with new leaders to prevent a collapse they say could trigger a migration crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria which shook Europe.
The departure of the forces led by the United States and many international donors left the country without subsidies which financed three quarters of public spending.
The finance ministry said it has a daily tax levy of around 400 million Afghans ($ 4.4 million).