Taliban ban Afghans from using foreign currency
The Afghan Taliban government on Tuesday announced a ban on the use of foreign currency, threatening to further disrupt an already struggling economy.
Since the Islamist group took power in mid-August, the Afghan national currency has depreciated and the country’s reserves have been frozen abroad.
With a faltering economy, banks are strapped for liquidity and the international community has so far refused to recognize the new government.
Meanwhile, many transactions within the country are conducted in US dollars, and in areas near southern border trade routes, Pakistani rupees are used.
But, in a press release, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that from now on, anyone using foreign currency for national affairs will be prosecuted.
“The country’s economic situation and national interests demand that all Afghans use Afghan currency in every transaction,” he said.
“The Islamic Emirate calls on all citizens, traders, traders, businessmen and the general public now to conduct all transactions in Afghanis and to strictly refrain from using foreign currency.”
A Taliban military commander was killed when his men responded to a suicide bombing and an Islamic State gun attack on a hospital in the Afghan capital, officials said on Wednesday.
The Taliban spent 20 years leading an insurgency against the fallen US-backed government before taking control of Kabul in August.
They now face the struggle to bring stability to Afghanistan, which has been hit in recent weeks by a series of bloody assaults claimed by rivals Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K).
At least 19 people were killed in Tuesday’s attack on Kabul’s main military hospital, according to a health ministry official.
Hamdullah Mokhlis, a member of the hardline Haqqani network and special forces officer in Badri’s corps, is the most senior figure to be killed since the Taliban seized Kabul.
“When he learned that the Sardar Daud Khan hospital was under attack, Maulvi Hamdullah (Mokhlis), the commander of the Kabul corps, immediately went to the scene,” said the Taliban media official.
“We tried to stop him but he laughed. Later, we found out that he had been martyred in the face-to-face combat at the hospital, ”he added.
The attack began with a suicide bomber detonating his explosives near the entrance to the facility before gunmen stormed into the hospital compound.
As part of the response, the new rulers in Kabul deployed their special forces on the roof of the building in a helicopter captured by the former US-backed Afghan government.
In a statement posted on its Telegram channels, IS-K said that “five fighters from the Islamic State group carried out simultaneous coordinated attacks” on the site.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid played down the death toll and said the attack was quelled within 15 minutes thanks to the rapid intervention.