Taliban Bans Use of Foreign Currency

The Taliban announced a ban on the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan, a move that could weigh on the country’s worsening economic situation.

“The Islamic Emirate instructs all citizens, shopkeepers, traders, businessmen and the general public to … conduct all transactions in Afghanis and strictly refrain from using foreign currency,” the Taliban said in a statement posted by spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid.

The announcement came hours after an attack on Afghanistan’s biggest military hospital in Kabul killed at least 25 people and left dozens wounded.

“The economic situation and national interests in the country require that all Afghans use Afghan currency in their every trade,” the Taliban said. Afghanistan’s market widely uses U.S. dollars.

The Taliban has been pressing for the release of billions of dollars worth of central bank reserves frozen in the U.S. Federal Reserve and other European central banks as Afghanistan faces cash crunches amid a growing humanitarian crisis.

Afghanistan’s major financiers withdrew from the country after the Taliban ousted its U.S.-backed government. Humanitarian aid remains unavailable to the poverty-stricken country as Western powers restrict communications with the Taliban government.

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