IEA bans use of foreign currencies in bid to stabilize Afghan currency

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) officials on Tuesday banned the use of foreign currencies for commercial transactions in the country in a bid to stabilize the plummeting national currency, the Afghani (AFN).

Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, deputy prime minister, who is heading up a commission to curb the currency’s freefall, said at a press conference that the AFN would stabilize on the back of steps being taken.

“We have ordered clerics, local officials and security forces to prevent the use of foreign currencies [being used] in Afghanistan,” said Hanafi.

Mawlawi Hanafi warned that the authorities would take serious action against anyone found to be using, hoarding or smuggling foreign currencies.

This comes as Afghanistan grapples with an economic crisis following the sudden collapse of the previous government, the suspension of foreign donor money and the freezing of foreign assets.

Officials have however said there has been an increase in national revenue generated and that serious efforts are being made to stabilize the economy.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, first deputy prime minister of Afghanistan, meanwhile said while visiting an expo of domestic products in Kabul city that the humanitarian crisis, particularly the lack of food, will create challenges for the region and the world.

Mullah Baradar also criticized the international community for its silence over the issue of Afghanistan’s frozen assets.

“Why is the world silent about what the US is doing? The money did not belong to [former president] Ashraf Ghani; it belongs to the nation. Why is the US doing this? Why is the world silent? It is the nation’s money and it should be returned,” he said.

Regarding the issue of not recognizing the IEA as Afghanistan’s government, Mullah Baradar said the world is pursuing its own goals but that the IEA is committed to issues of national interest.

“We call on the international community to recognize the IEA and release Afghanistan’s frozen assets to solve the problems,” said Mullah Baradar.

The White House said on Monday that they are not yet willing to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets, which amount to over $9 billion.