Taliban forbid use of US dollar, other foreign currency

Taliban forbid use of US dollar, other foreign currency
© KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban announced Tuesday that it would ban the use of foreign currency in Afghanistan.

"The economic situation and national interests in the country require that all Afghans use Afghan currency in their every trade," the Taliban said in a statement, per Reuters.

Areas along the border trade with the currencies of neighboring countries like Pakistan, and U.S. dollars are used widely in Afghanistan's markets, Reuters reported.

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Grants from international donors once funded roughly 75 percent of public spending in Afghanistan, the news service added, but following the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces and other foreign interests this summer that money has dried up.

Billions of dollars worth of assets from Afghanistan have been stored oversees with the U.S. Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe, according to Reuters. Those assets have been frozen since the Taliban took over Kabul in August; with the nation facing financial strain amid drought, starvation and migration-related troubles, the Taliban is working to gain access to the money.

The unexpected announcement about using strictly Afghan currency came just hours after another crisis: a shooting at Afghanistan's largest military hospital that left 25 people dead and 50 injured. In addition to the gunfire, there were two heavy explosions at the site of the incident in Kabul. 

The U.S. and other Western powers have refused to officially acknowledge the Taliban's government, a decision the Taliban has said could lead to problems “for the world.” 

“Our message to America is, if unrecognition continues, Afghan problems continue, it is the problem of the region and could turn into a problem for the world,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said last week.