Taliban appoint central bank chief as prices rise and liquidity drains

Taliban appoint central bank chief as prices rise and liquidity drains

The Taliban have appointed an obscure official, Mohammad Idris, as interim governor of the central bank of Afghanistan, even as signs emerge of a financial crisis, with cash machines running out of cash and prices of soaring essentials.
Idris “will tackle the looming banking problems and the problems of the people,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said on Twitter. Idris headed the group’s economic commission, Muhammad Jalal, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission, said in a text message.

His degree or professional experience in monetary, monetary and banking policy remains unknown.

The economic commission itself has operated in the shadows for the past 20 years. Its activities included collecting illegal taxes from businesses and farmers to finance the fighting of the militant group.

The prices of essential foods like flour and oil have risen 35% over the past week. Banks, pharmacies and drugstores in Kabul are also mostly closed. In most parts of the capital, the streets are now empty. Taliban fighters patrol the city to provide security, Mujahed said.

Exile central bank chief Ajmal Ahmady said in an interview for Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast that a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is facing a series of shocks that will likely result in a weaker currency, higher inflation. rapid and capital controls. The Harvard graduate fled the country following the similar departure of several other officials, including former President Ashraf Ghani, as activists advanced in Kabul on August 15.

Banks closed shortly after activists took control and ATMs have been running low on money ever since. Afghanistan hit a record high last week.

“We have money but we are still so poor that we will die. This is the third day that we are short of money, ”said Mustafa Haqbeen, a Kabul resident and English coach at a private tutoring center, which is closed for the moment. “Even the Western Union offices are closed in Kabul. Food prices have never been higher. We are suffocating. “

“Banks will become operational by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Mohammad Rafi Tabe, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, said in a telephone interview. Even though the finance minister had left Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul, the ministry has returned to work and all of its staff will remain in the same positions as before the arrival of the Taliban, added Tabe.


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