The U.S. Government froze Afghanistan government reserves held in US bank accounts as the Taliban rolled into the capital of 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 condition of anonymity that Afghanistan’s central bank Ajmal Ahmady fled after the Taliban came to power.
On Wednesday, Ahmady said on Twitter that around seven billion dollars of the reserves were held in the U.S. central bank.
Ahmady said another two billion dollars 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 the Biden administration cancelled 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 United States is also blocking Taliban access to government accounts managed by the Federal Reserve and other U.S. banks.
It said that the U.S. also working to prevent the group from accessing nearly 500 million dollars worth of reserves at the International Monetary Fund.
A Biden administration official was quoted as saying “any central bank assets the Afghan government has in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban.”