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Taliban government ‘need access to $10bn reserves’

A senior board member of Afghanistan’s central bank is urging the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to take steps to provide the Taliban-led government some access to the country’s reserves or risk economic disaster, Reuters news agency reports.

The Taliban took over Afghanistan with astonishing speed, but it appears unlikely that the militants will get quick access to most of the roughly $10bn (£7.2bn) held by Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which are mostly outside of the country.

President Joe Biden’s administration has said any central bank assets the Afghan government has in the US will not be made available to the Taliban, and the IMF has said the country will not have access to the lender’s resources.

Shah Mehrabi, an economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland and a member of the bank’s board since 2002, told Reuters that Afghanistan faced an “inevitable economic and humanitarian crisis” if its international reserves remain frozen.

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