The American government has frozen the Afghanistan government reserves held in U.S. bank accounts as the Taliban rolled into Kabul, according to a report on Thursday.
The move is an attempt to keep Afghanistan’s new rulers, the Taliban, from accessing billions of dollars after the militant group took control over the country.
The Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter speaking on the condition of anonymity, that Afghanistan’s central bank Ajmal Ahmady fled after the Taliban came to power.
On Wednesday, Mr. Ahmady said on Twitter that around $7 billion of the reserves were held in the U.S. central bank.
Mr. Ahmady further disclosed that another $2 billion were invested elsewhere internationally.
“Given that the Taliban are still on international sanction lists, it is expected that such assets will be frozen and not accessible to Taliban,” he said in a Twitter thread.
The Wall Street Journal reported that President Joe Biden’s administration canceled bulk shipments of dollars headed for Afghanistan last week as Taliban fighters were poised to take control of Kabul.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper reported that the U.S. is also blocking Taliban access to government accounts managed by the Federal Reserve and other U.S. banks.
It also said the U.S. was working to prevent the group from accessing nearly $500 million worth of reserves at the International Monetary Fund.
An official in Mr. Biden’s administration was quoted as saying, “Any central bank assets the Afghan government has in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.”