Taliban hands over seized cash, gold to central bank, assuring safety of Afghans’ bank deposits

The Taliban had handed over about 12.3 million U.S. dollars cash and some gold to Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), the country’s central bank, a bank statement said Thursday.

The cash and gold bars found from the houses of former administration’s officials and local offices of former government’s intelligence agency have been returned to Da Afghanistan Bank’s treasury.

The acting governor of Da Afghanistan Bank assured the safety of Afghans’ deposits in commercial banks.

“Da Afghanistan Bank assures our countrymen that all commercial banks operating in the country are under serious supervision and are conducting their operations better than before. The banks are completely secure,” governor Mohammad Idrees was quoted in the statement as saying.

“The officials of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by handing over the assets to national treasury proved their commitment to transparency,” the statement said.

All commercial banks in the region and the world usually keep 10 percent of their capital as cash and use the remainder in various commercial activities and provide useful services to their people, the statement said.

“Commercial banks in Afghanistan, on average, keep 50 percent of the afghani and foreign currency with them. Therefore, the banking sector is in a good condition. These banks have invested a certain amount of money inside the country and abroad to play a useful role in the economic growth of Afghanistan,” the governor said.

The statement came as thousands of customers had waited in long lines to withdraw their savings since the Taliban’s takeover in mid-August.

Reports of freezing Afghanistan’s bank assets by the United States as well as a halt of funds by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have fueled concerns among Afghans.

On Aug. 28, the DBA issued an order to all banks in the Central Asian country, setting a temporary limit of withdrawals of 200 U.S. dollars or 20,000 afghani for one customer every week.

After taking over the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, the Taliban announced the formation of a caretaker government on Sept. 7, appointing several acting ministers and an acting governor to the Afghan central bank.