US Chokes Taliban Funds, Freezes .5 Billion of Afghan Central Bank
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US Chokes Taliban Funds, Freezes $9.5 Billion of Afghan Central Bank

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The Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, but it appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the Afghan central bank’s roughly $10 billion in assets

An administration official revealed Tuesday that the US 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.

According to the person, any central bank assets held by the Afghan government in the United States will not be available to the Taliban, which is still on the Treasury Department’s sanctions list.

According to Afghan authorities, including the bank’s acting governor, Ajmal Ahmady, who has fled Kabul, the majority of the assets are held outside of Afghanistan, 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.

The Taliban said on Saturday that the treasury, public facilities and government offices were the property of the nation and “should be strictly guarded.”

The most recent financial statement posted online shows DAB holds total assets of about $10 billion, including $1.3 billion-worth of gold reserves and $362 million in foreign currency cash reserves, based on currency conversion rates on June 21, the date of the report. Ahmady estimated total reserves stood at $9 billion last week.

The Taliban are unable to obtain cash due to US sanctions. According to two persons acquainted with the situation, the great bulk of DAB’s assets are not now held in Afghanistan.

The US Treasury Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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