The United States has frozen nearly $ 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and halted shipments of cash to the country as it tries to prevent a Taliban-led government from access money, an administration official confirmed on Tuesday. The official said central bank assets that the Afghan government owns in the United States will not be available to the Taliban, who remain on the Treasury Department’s sanctions designation list.
Ajmal Ahmady, acting director of Da Afghan Bank, the country’s central bank, tweeted on Monday morning that he learned on Friday that dollar shipments would stop as the United States tried to block any Taliban effort to gain access to funds. DAB has $ 9.5 billion in assets, a significant portion of which is in accounts with the New York Federal Reserve and US-based financial institutions. Some $ 7 billion was held in the form of a mixture of cash, gold, bonds and other investments, Ahmady said on Twitter.
US sanctions against the Taliban mean they cannot access any funds. The vast majority of DAB’s assets are not currently being held in Afghanistan, according to two people familiar with the matter. Most of the rest is in other international accounts and at the Bank for International Settlements, a bank for central banks based in Switzerland, and not physically in ATM safes, he said – leaving about 0.2% or less of the total accessible to the Taliban. . “Given Afghanistan’s large current account deficit, ATM depended on getting physical deliveries of cash every few weeks,” he said. “The amount of these remaining cash is close to zero due to a halt in shipments as the security situation has deteriorated.”
No international reserve has been “ever compromised” and “no money has been stolen from any reserve account,” Ahmady added. A US administration official also told Reuters that no Afghan government assets held in the United States would be made available to the Taliban.
Ahmady said he was told the Taliban were asking bank staff for the location of the assets, but added that they should have anticipated that it would be impossible to access them.