Afghanistan’s Banking System Teeters on Collapse as Customers Withdraw Funds
Afghan citizens stood or sat in long lines outside banks in Kabul Thursday, often crowding the streets for hours, hoping to withdraw their funds, after the banks limited withdrawals to 20,000 afghani ($200) per day. The banks first closed pm August 15 as the Taliban took control of the country’s capital, and remained shut for 10 days. When the former government fell to the Taliban, the United States froze the country’s gold and cash reserves held in the US, worth billions of dollars, and the International Monetary Fund blocked access to a $460 million emergency reserve. At the same time, the World Bank suspended its aid to Afghanistan as the Taliban took power, due to concern for “the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women.” The World Bank’s website says it has provided $5.3 billion to the war-torn country since 2002. The afghani has fallen 4.6% against the dollar since the Taliban took over the country, where per capita GDP has been hovering around $500 and more than a third of the people live on less than $2 per day.