A week after taking power, the Taliban continue to take over Afghan institutions. The Islamist movement appointed Mohammad Idris on Monday as the new director of the Afghan central bank. This official from the Islamist seraglio succeeds Ajmal Ahmady, a Harvard graduate who left the country in a hurry a few hours after the fall of Kabul.
Mohammad Idris “will tackle the banking problems that are looming on the horizon and the problems of the people,” Zabihullah Mujahed, one of the spokesman for the Taliban, wrote on Twitter. According to Muhammad Jalal, a member of the Taliban cultural commission, Mohammad Idris previously headed the Islamist group’s economic commission.
Since Mullah Omar’s followers were ousted from power by the international coalition in 2001, this economic commission has been operating underground. Its activities mainly consisted of collecting illegal taxes from businesses and peasants. The money thus collected financed the operations of the Islamist guerrillas. As of yet, no one knows whether Mohammad Idris will be able to handle nationwide monetary and banking problems.
A major financial crisis on the way
Since the capture of Kabul on August 15 by the Taliban, various signs point to a major economic crisis. Under storm, cash machines are running out of cash and the Afghan currency has lost a lot of value. Food prices have increased by 35% in the space of a week.
Former Afghan central bank governor Ajmal Ahmady said in an interview with Bloomberg that the Taliban regime will face a series of economic shocks that will ultimately lead to a weaker currency and soaring inflation.
“The banks will be operational tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” said Mohammad Rafi Tabe, a spokesperson for the finance ministry in an interview with Bloomberg. He said the ministry was ready to return to work and that all employees will remain in the positions they held before the Taliban took power.