The Taliban-controlled central bank of Afghanistan said Wednesday it had confiscated nearly $ 12.4 million in cash and gold from the homes of former top government officials. The bank called for all transactions in the country to be conducted in local currency.
The central bank said in a statement that the money and gold were kept in the homes of officials.
As indicated, most of the money was found at the home of former Vice President Amrullah Saleh. His whereabouts are unknown. Last week, a family member reported that the Taliban had executed his brother Rohullah Azizi.
In a separate statement, Afghanistan’s central bank called for all transactions in the country to be conducted in local currency. “All Afghans from governmental and non-governmental organizations are asked to use afghan (Afghan currency – ed.) In the settlement of contracts and economic transactions” – wrote the bank.
The announcement came amid growing fears that domestic banks and companies are running out of money, especially the dollars that are widely used in Afghanistan.
The Taliban wants to recover assets belonging to former government officials. Reuters agency said, citing its sources, that the central bank wrote to local banks last week asking them to freeze the accounts of politically exposed persons linked to the previous government.
Afghanistan – banks
Most government workers are yet to return to work, and in many cases wages have not been paid for months, leaving millions of people struggling to make ends meet.
Long queues form in front of the banks. There is a limit on withdrawals of up to $ 200 per month.
Abdul Rahim, a demobilized soldier in the former Afghan army, traveled nearly 1,000 kilometers from Faryag to the country’s capital to collect his paycheck. “In the provinces, bank branches are closed, and in Kabul, thousands of people crowd outside the banks to collect their money. I came to the bank in vain for three days in a row. Today I came at 10 o’clock and there were already two thousand people waiting for him – he said.
And while transfers from overseas resumed, customers awaiting funds in international networks such as Western Union and MoneyGram complained on Wednesday that the branches they visited had run out of cash.
Main photo source: Adrien Vautier / Le Pictorium / East News