Afghanistan’s central bank has doubled the ceiling for weekly bank withdrawals to the equivalent of $ 400
The back-to-back decisions come at a time of continued deterioration of the Afghan economy. The Taliban portrayed the ban on foreign exchange as a way of trying to stabilize the economy and warned that violators would be prosecuted.
Others felt that the ban could be counterproductive. A large part of Afghanistan’s economy revolves around foreign trade, foreign aid and remittances from abroad. The local currency, Afghanistan, has fallen since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August.
Following the Taliban’s takeover, the United States froze nearly $ 9.5 billion in central bank assets and halted cash shipments. It was part of a press campaign aimed at getting Afghanistan’s new rulers to respect the rights of women and minorities.
In response, bank withdrawals were limited to the equivalent of $ 200 per week. Huge crowds formed outside the banks every day while Afghans tried to get money for daily needs.
On Wednesday, the central bank announced that the ceiling would rise to the equivalent of $ 400 a week, or $ 1,200 a month. The bank said those depositing money starting Wednesday will be able to withdraw money without restrictions.
The economic situation remains serious. The Taliban’s takeover resulted in an abrupt halt to most donor funds. These disbursements accounted for 45 percent of GDP and financed 75 percent of government spending, including salaries for the public sector. In 2019, total government spending was nearly $ 11 billion. Humanitarian agencies say they have seen a sharp rise in hunger, with drought and the onset of winter exacerbating the situation.
In addition to the economic problems, the Taliban has also been confronted with a sharp rise in attacks from its main rival, the extremist group Islamic State. IS stronghold has been the stronghold of Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar.
On Wednesday, a roadside bomb hit a Taliban patrol in Jalalabad, killing two people and wounding three, witnesses said.
There was no immediate assumption of responsibility, but the attack was marked by previous IS attacks on the Taliban.
A Taliban district commander in the city confirmed the explosion, saying four Taliban fighters were wounded. The commander, who identified himself as Mubariz – and like many Afghans goes by one name – did not give details about those killed in the attack, saying the investigation is continuing.
In recent weeks, Taliban officials have been reluctant or slow to disclose details of Taliban deaths in a blatant attempt to downplay the extent of the damage inflicted by IS.
The Jalalabad attack came the day after IS attackers detonated an explosion at the gate of a 400-bed military hospital in Kabul’s capital, killing three women, a child and three Taliban guards. Five assailants were also killed in the attack.
Taliban officials said guards prevented the attackers from entering the hospital.
IS claimed that one of those killed in the hospital attack was a senior Taliban commander who had played a leading role in the group’s takeover of Kabul on 15 August. Taliban officials said they could not immediately confirm that the commander had been killed.