Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last weekend, the International Monetary Fund made it clear that Afghanistan will not be able to access the IMF’s financial resources, at least in the short run.
The IMF stated that “There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access the special drawing rights or other IMF resources.” Special drawing rights are the IMF’s unit of exchange and are convertible into sterling, dollars, euros, yen, and yuan.
The IMF move is timely, particularly considering that the fund’s resources of over $370 million had been previously arranged to arrive in Afghanistan on Aug. 23, which was a part of a global IMF response to the pandemic-driven economic crisis.
As underscored by a recent Wall Street Journal commentary by a former communications adviser at the IMF and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, the move is “only a temporary fix.”
>>> An Afghan Veteran Talks About the Situation in Afghanistan:
As the two specialists of the matter pointed out:
The Taliban will surely come back and seek recognition once they are in full control of the country. That is why the first real test of whether the Taliban will be accepted by the international community will happen in the IMF boardroom. IMF recognition of the Taliban would accelerate its broader push for international recognition. But now, since recognition is frozen, banks all over the world will hesitate to do business with Kabul.
Although the recent disastrous policy mistakes by the Biden administration have reduced U.S. influence within Afghanistan to near zero, the U.S. can still wield considerable influence over the nature and extent of the Taliban’s access to international financial resources, both public and private. It will be vital for Washington to pay greater attention to this critical policy front in the days ahead.
As Jim Carafano, The Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign policy, has pointed out, “There is every prospect that the Taliban never cut ties with terrorists groups, despite claiming that they did,” with “every likelihood they will host these groups again—if nothing else as hedge to threaten foreign powers and as a source of strength, demonstrating they remain committed to the global Islamist mission.” (The Daily Signal is the news and commentary outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Financial support is necessary for terrorists to project their activities from their base of operations to the United States and other nations. Identifying and effectively blocking the Taliban from engaging in support of terrorism is a vital goal for the U.S. going forward. A key part of that must be greater oversight of formal and informal financial transactions undertaken by the Taliban.
The Taliban’s audacious, ruthless drive for power, and the fecklessness of the Biden administration in running from that fight, has put the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan.
The imperative now for Washington is to use all available means to ensure that international financial resources are not available to enable the spread of the Taliban’s power and influence.
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