The United States has blocked almost $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and halted cash shipments to the country in an effort to prevent a Taliban-led government from obtaining the funds, an administration official revealed.
The official said that any central bank assets held by the Afghan government in the US will not be available to the Taliban, which is still on the Treasury Department’s sanctions list.
Afghan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank’s (DAB) acting governor, Ajmal Ahmady, who has also fled the capital city, confirmed that majority of the assets are held outside of the country, potentially placing them beyond of reach of the Taliban militants.
“Given that the Taliban are still on international sanction lists, it is expected (confirmed?) that such assets will be frozen and not accessible to Taliban,” Ahmady said in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.
“We can say the accessible funds to the Taliban are perhaps 0.1-0.2% of Afghanistan’s total international reserves. Not much,” he added.
On Saturday, the Taliban had said that the treasury, public facilities and government offices “should be strictly guarded,” as they were the property of the nation.
A recent financial statement posted online reveals that DAB holds total assets of at least $10 billion, along with gold reserves $1.3 billion-worth and $362 million in foreign currency cash reserves on the basis of the currency conversion rates on June 21, the date of the report. Ahmady estimated that last week total reserves stood at $9 billion.
Due to US sanctions, the Taliban are unable to obtain cash. According to two persons acquainted with the situation, the great bulk of DAB’s assets are not now held in Afghanistan.
The amount of cash remaining in Afghanistan is almost zero due to the stoppage of physical currency shipments after the security situation deteriorated over the last few days, DAB Governor Ahmady noted.
Every few weeks, Afghanistan used to receive physical cash shipments before the Taliban’s capture and the well-being of the entire Afghan economy depends on these shipments.
However, recently most countries including the US stopped sending cash reserves to the country, fearing that the Taliban would soon gain control.