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Taliban launch allure offensive with Afghan banks amid funding fears

LONDON: The brand new, Taliban-appointed head of Afghanistan’s central financial institution has sought to reassure banks the group desires a fully-functioning monetary system, however has thus far offered little element on the way it will provide funds to maintain it, stated 4 bankers acquainted with the matter.

The performing central financial institution governor, Haji Mohammad Idris, met members of the Afghanistan Banks Affiliation and different bankers this week, and informed them that the Taliban seen the banking sector as crucial, stated two bankers who attended the assembly.

The militant group which now controls the nation was working to seek out options for liquidity and rising inflation, they quoted Idris as saying.

“They have been very charming and requested banks what their issues have been,” stated one of many bankers who requested anonymity.

Underneath the Taliban’s earlier rule between 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan had little functioning banking sector and though a handful of business banks retained licences none have been operational and few loans have been made.

Idris, a Taliban loyalist who has no formal monetary coaching or increased schooling, was appointed to move the central financial institution final week.

He and his staff didn’t inform the bankers how a lot money Da Afghanistan Financial institution (DAB), the central financial institution, had entry to, nor did they provide any indication about how the Taliban would method its relationship with the USA, one of many bankers stated.

The central financial institution offered liquidity to banks in current days, stated two of the bankers, with one including that DAB paid a portion of the quantity every financial institution requested.

It seems unlikely that the militants will get fast entry to many of the roughly US$10 billion in property held by DAB, that are largely outdoors of the nation.

“Round 80 per cent of transactions carried out by banks are in {dollars}, so it is very important the brand new authorities ought to make the connection with the US,” stated the banker.

One other banker who attended the assembly stated an preliminary rush by prospects to entry financial institution accounts after the Taliban captured Kabul had eased barely. A key precedence for the central financial institution was now to have its worldwide accounts “unblocked” and get entry to its reserves, to permit it to maintain sufficient cash circulating.

“We’re in shut contact and negotiations with the central financial institution,” stated the second banker.

Banks have primarily re-opened this week, however are working with restricted companies, together with US$200 weekly limits on withdrawals and few wire transfers amid liquidity worries and correspondent banks reducing ties, say bankers.

Idris additionally provided reassurances about banks’ feminine employees, telling them that the Taliban was not planning to stipulate whether or not they might make use of girls or not, stated one of many bankers.

Girls account for round 20 per cent of employees in some banks, however some have stayed away from places of work amid issues the motion will repeat the stance of their earlier authorities earlier than 2001 when girls weren’t allowed to work.

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