Middle East

How Afghanistan’s Asset Freezing Hurts Everyone

Afghan businessman Shoib Barak is struggling to pay workers and suppliers because he has no access to funds from a banking system that has been dysfunctional due to the country’s freezing of foreign assets.
They can’t pay their bills this time — and so the country’s financial pain drips and hurts everyone along an uninterrupted chain of misery.
“I’m very embarrassed,” said Barak, who until recently employed about 200 people nationwide.
“For me, for all Afghanistan, I really hate it. I can’t even pay my staff.”
Washington freezes an estimated $ 10 billion held by foreign central banks after hardline Islamists seized power on August 15 to avoid giving the Taliban access to Afghan reserves. ..
Last year, about half of what the country’s economy produced, it starved the banks used by Afghan businesses and citizens to access the dollar. Even if limited funds are released, most will be bound by the US legal system for many years while being subject to claims by victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. There is a possibility.
Reserves can usually be soaked to pay overdue government bills and development projects, but the freeze has permeated other parts of the economy.
“We just release the reserve,” Barak pleaded.
“If you have a problem with the Taliban, don’t take revenge on the people, the people.”
Barak’s cash flow crisis represents a problem faced by tens of thousands of Afghans who do not have access to most of their money.
He states he is detaining about $ 3 million in Afghan banks. This is the money earned over the years from lucrative private and government contracts paid in dollars when aid was poured into public funds under the pre-Taliban administration.
However, Barak is months behind in both invoices and staff salaries as local banks limit weekly withdrawals to 5% of their business account balance (up to $ 5,000).
Ahmadsia is one of them.
The 55-year-old engineer earned 60,000 afghans a month. That’s $ 770 before the Taliban took over and the currency plunged 25%. Four months later, Zia struggles to reach her goals and is afraid that her once comfortable family of six will “eat only once or twice” a day.
Barak employees are not the only ones suffering.
Ehsanullah Maroof’s now abolished legal business relied heavily on monthly holders from Barak’s construction company. “The kids went to a very good school,” he told AFP, proudly telling his nine-year-old daughter Lana that she was older than her.
But now, Lana was banished because he couldn’t afford the right medicine for his epileptic son and his family couldn’t afford the tuition.
The misery is exacerbated — to the currently unemployed Marouf maid.
42-year-old Gulha earned 8,000 afghanis a month and was the main earner of a strong family of seven.
Currently, she is two months behind her rent and is short of food.
“I have 14 kg (30 pounds) of rice, 20-21 kg of flour, and some oil,” she told AFP in a one-room apartment. “It will last for 10 days.”
When it’s gone, she joins millions of compatriots who are completely dependent on help.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a US resolution to help humanitarian aid reach desperate Afghanistan, while striving to keep the Taliban out of the hands.
However, the arrival of sufficient cash to curb the occurrence of humanitarian disasters ultimately depends on the “feasibility of the banking system,” said Hanna Luchnikava, principal economist in the Asia-Pacific region of IHS Markit. -Schorsch says.
Many Afghan banks are “quite close to collapse,” she told AFP, and foreign agencies would probably “fear” a reduction in sanctions fouls despite a UN resolution.
For many ordinary Afghans, any relief would be too late.
International organizations have warned that one million Afghan children could die this winter, Barak said.
“Which do you think will be blamed, the Taliban or the United States?”

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707017/How-Afghanistan-s-asset-freeze-hurts-everyone How Afghanistan’s Asset Freezing Hurts Everyone

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