The Taliban have appointed Haji Mohammad Idris as the new governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan: he will have to give stability to an economy in crisis. Here's what is known about him
About ten days after the conquest of Kabul, on Monday the Taliban appointed a new governor of the Central Bank of Afghanistan. It is Haji Mohammad Idris, who will have the task – as stated in a statement by the spokesman of the group, Zabihullah Mujahid – to contribute to the organization of the institutions and to address the problems of the Afghan population.
THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Reuters explains that Idris will seek to stabilize a war-torn economy that has been "adrift" for over a week, with banks down and government offices empty. Civil servants are without pay, most of the shops are closed and the increase in the price of basic necessities – from food to fuel – could fuel social discontent.
Within a few days, the prices of flour, oil and rice increased by as much as 10-20 percent. Banks are still closed and many people do not have access to their savings. The branches of Western Union, a US financial services company, are also closed, and therefore the flows of remittances – the money that emigrants send home, to families – are blocked.
WHAT AFGHAN CREDIT INSTITUTES WANT
Reuters reports the statements of an unnamed Afghan banker, who explains that lenders are seeking, in view of the reopening, the support of the central bank in managing the liquidity of Afghans (the national currency) and US dollars.
The banker adds that if the uncertainty continues, customers will withdraw large sums of money and banks will need even more support.
WHO IS HAJI MOHAMMAD IDRIS
The Taliban are looking for technicians to get the Afghan economy back on its feet. But officials from Ashraf Ghani's pro-Western administration have fled overseas or are in hiding. The former central bank governor, Ajmal Ahmaty, fled Kabul.
Little is known about the new governor, Haji Mohammad Idris: the scant information about him says that he is originally from the northern province of Jawzjan and has been involved in financial matters for a long time under the previous Taliban leader, Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a attack with a drone in 2016.
According to statements by a high-ranking member of the Taliban, also reported by Reuters , Idris was in charge of the group's finances and is respected by others for his experience. However, he did not receive higher education or "classic" training in finance.
“There are many people unknown to the world but who have held key positions and made great contributions. Haji Idris is among them, ”the Taliban member told the agency. "I think he didn't even study religious science, but he was an expert in financial matters."
THE RESERVES OF THE AFGHAN CENTRAL BANK
The former central bank governor of Afghanistan, Ahmaty, said the country's monetary reserves are mainly in overseas accounts and have not been compromised by the Taliban.
The Afghan central bank controls reserves of around 9 billion dollars: of these, 7 billion – including money, gold bonds and various securities – are held by the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States (which has frozen them, to prevent Taliban to access it).
THE FINANCES OF THE TALEBANS
In the nearly twenty years preceding the capture of Kabul, the Taliban financed their organization through opium trafficking, the collection of taxes (including on public services such as water or electricity) in the territories they controlled, the mining industry. and donations from abroad.
But now I'm leading the country. And they are unlikely to be able to access international aid, which makes it possible to finance around 80 percent of Afghanistan's state budget. According to the World Bank, foreign aid flows accounted for roughly 43 percent of the country's economy in 2020.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/talebani-nuovo-governatore-banca-centrale-afghanistan/ on Wed, 25 Aug 2021 08:05:41 +0000.