The United States froze billions of dollars worth of Afghan Central Bank reserves in U.S. accounts, according to a US official.
“Any central bank assets owned by the Afghan government in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban,” the US official said.
Most of the reserves, including dollars, gold and US Treasuries, are believed to be held in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other US financial institutions.
President Joe Biden’s administration made the decision over the weekend when the Taliban captured the capital, Kabul, after a violent attack that swept through the cities and toppled the government.
The central bank reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates.
Apart from freezing the assets, the U.S. could also block aid to Afghanistan from international lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank.
According to the World Bank, Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries and relies heavily on foreign aid, covering about a third of the government’s budget.