EXCLUSIVE JURIST – Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan file reports with JURIST on the situation there after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Here, a lawyer from Kabul presents his personal observations and his take on recent banking and financial developments in Afghanistan. For reasons of confidentiality and security, we retain the name and institutional affiliation of our correspondent. The text has only been slightly retouched to respect the author’s voice.
Today I went to a local bank to receive my 200 USD which I can receive in my account every week. I went to the nearest branch of this bank but was told they did not have US dollars. I went to the main branch of the bank which is close to the central bank.
I received the above amount, but the dollar I received today is from the 2006 series. Currently one USD is traded for 90 AFN. However, the 2006 dollar streak does not trade at the same price. That’s nearly 85 APNs.
When I was at the central bank, I remember that the central bank sent an official letter to commercial banks and money service providers to collect banknotes that are too old and that they should not distribute them in the market. . All of these banknotes were collected by the central bank. Now it looks like the central bank has run out of US dollar bills and has distributed the old bills.
I also took a little time and talked to the guy at the bank about how much they get each week from the central bank. He told me that this week they had only received $ 20,000 from the central bank. This means that the central bank as well as the commercial banks are running out of dollar banknotes and this will soon negatively affect the banking system.
My friend added that state banks as well as commercial banks are only open to provide money to the people and nothing more. Moreover, according to this friend Pashanty Bank, Bank Millie, Maiwand Bank, Afghan United Bank and Ghazanfar Bank are the banks that will close their operations in their branches in Kabul. He cannot confirm when this will actually happen, but given that these banks pay their customers’ money on a daily basis and the lack of US banknotes will certainly force them to close their branches and only operate in their main office.
The central bank recently announced that it has contacted the World Bank and the IMF to discuss TTs and the country’s money which is now frozen. However, it does not appear that any of these entities are taking steps to allow the Taliban to receive US banknotes.