Kabul banks reopen; glimmer of hope for cash-starved people

Kabul banks witness people arriving in large numbers to withdraw money

Afghanistan, besieged by the Taliban, had been going through hell ever since August 15. One sector that had been majorly hit was banking operations. People who had deposited money were left at the mercy of the sudden closure of banks over the period. The good news is that banks have finally started to open, giving hope to thousands of people who look forward to having physical currency in their hands. 

It may be recalled that the banks and other financial institutions had pulled down shutters soon after former President Ashraf Ghani fled and the Taliban took over Kabul. The banks had shut due to fears that customers’ arrival in large numbers would lead to looting and bloodshed. 

In the days that followed, resumption of banking operations faced another hurdle when the United States decided to cut off access to $7bn of the Afghan Central Bank’s gold and cash reserves in the Federal Reserve. The International Monetary Fund followed suit by cutting off access to $460m in funds allocated during the week, said an Al Jazeera report.

Thousands of people had been trying to withdraw their cash even before the Taliban reached Kabul, but they were left distressed when these developments happened. 

Kabul banks open as people hope to get hold of saved cash

With banks slowly starting to open, people have a ray of hope shining for them. Lack of physical money had left them with no alternative to carry on with their lives in a city under the militia. Though the Taliban had stated that the Finance Ministry would ensure that it would pay all Afghan civil servants their money, there is still a sense of uncertainty. The report added that this situation is because the Taliban is yet to announce an administration and leadership structure.

The report said that people stand in long queues to withdraw money after banks started reopening in the Afghan capital. It remains to be seen how the banks and financial institutions would cope with the crowd situation in a tense environment.

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