Washington: US President Joe Biden’s administration froze about USD 9.5 billion of the Afghan reserves to keep cash away from the Taliban after it captured Afghanistan.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and personnel at the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had decided to freeze the accounts, Dawn reported citing The Washington Post.
“Any central bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban,” an administration official told the newspaper in a statement.
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The US State Department was consulted before the action as was the White House, said the report, adding that the Biden administration was contemplating other actions as well to pressure the Taliban.
The report pointed out that the Biden administration did not need new authority to freeze the reserves because the Taliban were already under sanctions from an executive order approved after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Ajmal Ahmady, acting head of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) — the nation’s central bank – in a tweet said that he learned on Friday that shipments of dollars would stop as Washington would not allow the Taliban to access the funds.
“On Friday morning, I received a call notifying me that there would be no further USD shipments (we were expecting one on Sunday, the day Kabul fell) On Saturday, banks placed very large USD bids as customer withdrawals accelerated,” he posted on Twitter.