Ex-officials are seized for $12 million as Afghanistan faces a cash crunch.
The Taliban stole more than $12 million in cash and gold from the residences of former government officials, according to Afghanistan’s central bank, which has urged for all transactions to be completed in local currency.
One month after taking power, the Taliban’s regime is threatened by a foreign exchange crisis in the aid-dependent country.
Most government workers have yet to return to work, and many have gone without pay for months, leaving millions of people in a financial bind.
Even those with money in the bank are having difficulty with withdrawals, which are limited to $200 a week and require clients to line for hours.
Customers anticipating payments from multinational chains such as Western Union and MoneyGram complained Wednesday that the offices they visited had run out of cash, despite the fact that transfers from overseas have resumed.
The central bank stated in a statement Wednesday that “all Afghans in the government and non-governmental organizations are asked to use afghani in their contracts and economic transactions.”
The bank later released a statement claiming that Taliban militants had handed over $12.3 million in cash and gold confiscated from the homes of former government officials, with the majority of it recovered at the home of former vice president Amrullah Saleh.
According to the statement, “the money recovered originated from high-ranking individuals… and a number of national security organizations who stashed cash and gold in their homes.”
“However, it is still unknown for what reason they were held.”
Abdul Rahim, a former Afghan army soldier who was demoted, traveled over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Faryab to Kabul to collect his backpay.
“Bank branches in the provinces are closed, and thousands of people queue in Kabul to get their money out,” he told AFP on Wednesday.
“I’ve been to the bank three days in a row, but to no avail. When I came at around 10 a.m. today, there were roughly 2,000 people already waiting.”
The Taliban expressed gratitude to the international community on Tuesday after a donor conference in Geneva offered $1.2 billion in aid to Afghanistan, but the country’s needs are urgent.
Donor countries, on the other hand, want strings attached to their donations and are wary of supporting a regime with such a terrible history as the Taliban.
The firm stance Islamists have pledged a more moderate style of government than they did during their previous term in power, which lasted from 1996 to 2001, yet they have moved quickly to suppress dissent, including firing in the streets. Brief News from Washington Newsday.