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Afghan central bank receives over $12M cash 'seized from ex-gov't officials'

No. of gold bars also recovered, including from ex-Vice President Amrullah Saleh's residence, claims Da Afghanistan Bank

Shafiq Ahmad   | 16.09.2021
Afghan central bank receives over $12M cash 'seized from ex-gov't officials' file photo

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The Afghan central bank announced on Wednesday that it has received more than $12 million in cash found from the residences of former government officials, including Vice President Amrullah Saleh.

The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August, and have announced an interim government headed by Hassan Akhund, the acting prime minister. The sweeping takeover led many high-ranking government officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, to flee the country.

A statement by Da Afghanistan Bank claimed it also got "a number of gold bricks most of which were found at Amrullah Saleh’s residence."

The readout said that the seized cash and gold have been submitted to the treasury because the new administration is "committed to transparency in all fields."

The "purpose of keeping the said amount of cash and gold, and how they kept them, hasn’t been known yet," it added.

Earlier, Ghani had rejected claims that he fled Afghanistan with millions of dollars, saying “these charges are completely and categorically false."

Saleh has yet to respond to the allegations via a statement or social media post. His whereabouts are not known since the fall of Panjshir, the last province to lead the resistance against the Taliban.

Deal in local currency

In a separate statement, the central bank urged Afghans to use local currency amid reports that banks are running out of dollars.

"In accordance with Article 33 of Da Afghanistan Bank law, the currency of Afghanistan and its monetary unit is the Afghani. Therefore, all Afghans, and government and private institutions are requested to use the Afghani in contracts and other monetary transactions and trade to improve economic growth," the notification read.

In another press release, the bank's acting governor said "banks are completely secure" and "are conducting their operations better than before." Earlier, banks imposed weekly $200 payout limits.

The developments come as the US is said to have frozen over $9 billion of the Afghan government’s funds.

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