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IMF Suspends Afghanistan’s Access to Reserves

Aug. 19 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The International Monetary Fund announced yesterday that it had suspended Afghanistan’s access to IMF resources, including about $440 million-worth of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) reserves. “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 or other IMF resources,” a Fund spokesperson said in an emailed statement, reported Reuters. “As is always the case, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community,” the spokesperson stated.

In this case, the “international community” is the U.S. Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the Fund, which pressured the IMF to ensure that Afghanistan’s share of an SDR reserves allocation scheduled for Aug. 23 not fall into Taliban hands. A U.S. Treasury official said earlier on Aug. 18 that the Treasury was taking steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing the country’s SDR reserves, but didn’t provide further details.

Even if Afghanistan were to regain access to the SDRs, Reuters observed, it would be unlikely the Taliban could spend those resources, because that would require another country to be willing to exchange SDRs for underlying currencies, a transaction that would probably be blocked by long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against the Taliban.

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