IMF headquarters in Washington DC.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced on 19 August that the Taliban will not be allowed to access emergency reserve funds previously allocated to Afghanistan.
Specifically, the IMF said that $460 million in emergency currency reserves that were set to arrive in Afghanistan on 23 August will instead be frozen. The move reportedly comes following pressure from the Biden administration as it seeks to implement an economic blockade on the war-torn nation.
“There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs [Special Drawing Rights] or other IMF resources,” Gerry Rice, an IMF spokesman, said in a statement.
The funds that were headed to Afghanistan are part of a $650 billion effort by the IMF to help developing nations cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, following their defeat after a 20-year long war, the US has made it clear they intend to cut off the Taliban from any source of funding, as they often do with administrations Washington considers to be the enemy.
In a letter addressed to the US Treasury Secretary, 17 US lawmakers claimed that “the potential of the SDR allocation to provide nearly half a billion dollars in unconditional liquidity to a regime with a history of supporting terrorist actions against the United States and her allies is extremely concerning.”
Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced they have frozen all Afghan government assets held within the US, and that they will block all attempts by the Taliban to access nearly $10 billion in foreign reserves.