There’s little faith that the hard-line Taliban will be able to turn things around. The Afghanistan Banks Association announced Monday on Facebook that the Taliban had appointed Haji Mohammad Idris as the acting governor of the central bank.
Gul Maqsood Sabit, a former deputy finance minister, said he had never heard of Idris.
“Not at all,” said Sabit, who lives in California and works as a lecturer at a community college. “This person is someone who served on the Taliban Economic Commission. He was a teacher in a [religious school] in Pakistan, and that’s where he came from, so that’s all that we know about this person, and now he’s managing the central bank. He probably has no experience at all.”
The new Taliban-led government has presented no evidence of Idris’ experience in finance or banking. The announcement came two days after the Taliban’s finance ministry declared that all government employees would be “paid as before.”
Afghanistan watchers and financial experts said it is the latest sign that without further intervention from the international community, the country’s economy could suffer even more than it has in recent weeks.
Shortly after President Ashraf Ghani’s government fell on Aug. 15, trading in the afghani, the country’s currency, slumped, falling by almost 8 percent against the U.S. dollar. But since Aug. 17, the local currency has been relatively stable, probably because it has been practically frozen — it is now nearly impossible to move money in or out of the country.
With government employees not being paid and banks not open, even everyday commerce is hard.
“Nothing is happening. No exchange is happening,” Sabit said. “People have cash there, and they are holding on to it.”