The Taliban says those who continue to trade in foreign currency will be faced with legal action.
The Taliban have announced a complete ban on the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan, a move that will certainly cause further disruption to an economy pushed to the brink of collapse by the abrupt withdrawal of international aid in the wake of the group takeover of the land.
The surprise announcement on Tuesday came hours after a coordinated arms and bomb attack on Afghanistan’s largest military hospital in the capital Kabul, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens more.
“The Islamic Emirate instructs all citizens, shop owners, merchants, businessmen and the general public to alle conduct all transactions in Afghans and strictly refrain from using foreign currency,” the Taliban said in a statement released by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
“Anyone who violates this order will be prosecuted,” the statement said.
The use of US dollars is widespread in Afghanistan’s markets, while border areas use the currency of neighboring countries such as Pakistan for trade.
The Taliban government is pushing for the release of billions of dollars of central bank reserves as the drought-stricken nation faces a cash crunch, mass results and a new migration crisis.
Afghanistan’s formerly Western-backed government had parked billions of dollars in assets abroad with the US Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe.
But after the Taliban took over the country in August, the United States, as well as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), decided to block Afghanistan’s access to more than $ 9.5 billion. USD in assets and loans.
The decision has had a devastating effect on Afghanistan’s health care and other sectors, all of which are struggling to continue operations amid cuts in international aid.
With a harsh winter on the way, 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 slow pace of diplomatic processes and negotiations “.
The World Food Program has said that about 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s 39 million people – are facing acute food insecurity and “marching to hunger”, compared to 14 million just two months ago.
The food crisis, exacerbated by climate change, was severe in Afghanistan even before the Taliban took power.
Aid groups are urging countries concerned about human rights under the Taliban to engage with the new rulers to prevent a collapse that they say could trigger a migration crisis similar to the 2015 exodus from Syria that shook Europe.
The departure of US-led forces and many international donors left the country without subsidies, financing three-quarters of public spending.
The Treasury Department said it had a daily tax spending of about 400 million Afghans ($ 4.4 million).