Following the Taliban’s takeover of the country on 15 August, the US announced it wouldn’t allow the new regime to access government funds, including financial assistance to Kabul from Western governments. Washington also said it was not planning to recognise the Taliban’s government right away.
The US administration has frozen accounts at American banks that hosted part of Afghanistan’s national reserves, cutting off the Taliban’s access to the money left over from the previous government, The Washington Post has reported. The decision was made by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and officials from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the media outlet said, citing an anonymous source in the government.
The asset freeze was reportedly carried out under sanctions implemented against the Taliban in the follow-up of the 9/11 attacks.
International Monetary Fund data shows that the ousted Afghan government had $9.4 billion in national reserves back in April 2021, prior to the Taliban offensive. It is unclear, however, how much of it was kept in the coffers of US banks. Washington also used to send $3 billion per year in financial assistance to the Afghan government – a practice that is likely to be halted with the Taliban’s ascent to power.
Neither the US, nor other countries have so far recognised the Taliban as the new government of Afghanistan. The US State Department’s spokesperson noted…