U.N. has millions in Afghanistan bank, but cannot use it


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations has about $135 million in the financial institution in Afghanistan but is unable to use it as a result of the Taliban-run central financial institution cannot convert it to the afghani forex, a senior U.N. official mentioned on Thursday.

Abdallah al Dardari, head of the U.N. Development Programme in Afghanistan, mentioned the United Nations had taken the U.S. {dollars} into the nation and deposited it with the Afghanistan International Bank “with a transparent promise from the central financial institution that contemporary money will probably be robotically transformed to afghanis.”

“This didn’t occur,” he advised the ACAMS Global Sanctions Space Summit, including that UNDP itself has “$30 million caught at AIB that I cannot convert to afghanis and with out afghanis as you may think about, we cannot implement all our packages.”

The Taliban, who seized energy in August, banned the use of overseas forex in a rustic the place U.S. {dollars} had been frequent.

The Islamist group has lengthy been underneath worldwide sanctions, which the United Nations and help teams say are actually hindering humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, the place greater than half the nation’s 39 million individuals endure excessive starvation and the economic system, schooling and social providers face collapse.

Billions of {dollars} in Afghan central financial institution reserves and overseas improvement help have been frozen to stop it from falling into Taliban fingers. International banks are cautious of breaching sanctions, leaving the United Nations and help teams struggling to get sufficient cash into the nation.

Liquidity can also be an issue. Al Dardari advised Reuters in November that whereas there was about $4 billion price of afghanis in the economic system, solely about $500 million price was in circulation.

The United Nations and the World Bank are discussing a doable swap facility, help teams and U.N. officers have mentioned.

Al Dardari mentioned on Thursday that this could permit money for humanitarian operations to be paid right into a mechanism overseas after which afghanis may very well be collected “from main merchants and cell firms from inside Afghanistan.”

He additionally mentioned classes may very well be realized from a program in Myanmar, the place digital cost techniques bypassed the central financial institution. Myanmar’s army have been hit with a raft of sanctions by the United States and others since a coup a yr in the past.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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