The Biden administration has frozen Afghan government reserves deposited in U.S. bank accounts in a move that will deprive Taliban access to billions of dollars.
The gross reserves of the country’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April, according to an estimate by International Monetary Fund (IMF). Substantial portion of it is held as reserves in U.S Banks.
Quoting sources privy to the development, Washington Post reported that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and officials in the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control directed the account suspensions.
Washington also also move to block aid to Afghanistan from multilateral lenders like the IMF and World Bank, as it has done with other countries with governments it does not recognize, like Venezuela.
The IMF in June released the latest installment of a $370 million loan to Afghanistan approved in November to help support the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The IMF is providing financial assistance and debt service relief to member countries facing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic