The US is considering options to block the Taliban’s access to $460 million in reserve assets which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) planned to send to Afghanistan next week.
According to a New York Times source at the US Treasury Department, the IMF is currently monitoring the reaction of its member states to determine whether they plan to recognize the Taliban’s claim to power as legitimate before they send reserve funds to Kabul.
In August, the IMF approved the allocation of additional reserve assets amounting to $650 billion to help the global economy’s post-pandemic recovery. Afghanistan was among the states to receive the funds in accordance with its quota. The IMF’s decision will take effect on August 23.
Meanwhile, the US administration has already suspended cash shipments headed to Afghanistan to keep it out of the hands of the Taliban. The shipment of dollars that was to be transferred to Afghanistan last week was halted, and Washington also blocked access to government accounts managed by the Federal Reserve and American banks, the WSJ reported.
According to Afghanistan’s former Central Bank governor, Ajmal Ahmady, the country has about $9 billion in reserves, nearly all of which is stored outside the country. On his Twitter account, he clarified that these reserves were not in any danger, and funds were not stolen from any of the bank accounts. As the vast majority of the funds have been blocked, the Taliban, according to Ahmady, has access to no more than 0.1% of them.
“Taliban should note this was in no way the decision of [the Central Bank of Afghanistan] or its professional staff. It is a direct result of US sanctions policy implemented by [the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department].
“The Taliban and their backers should have foreseen this result. Taliban won militarily – but now have to govern. It is not easy,” Ahmadi wrote.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan last week, forcing President Ashraf Ghani and senior leadership to flee the country.