Taliban will not get access to Afghan reserves held in US: official

The central bank's gross reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Taliban fighters stand guard along a street at the Massoud Square in Kabul on August 16, 2021. Picture: Wakil Kohsar / AFP

WASHINGTON/JOHANNESBURG - The Taliban will be denied access to any Afghan reserves held in US accounts, a US administration official told AFP on Monday.

As US forces were evacuating Afghanistan's capital after the Taliban's swift takeover, the official said: "Any Central Bank assets the Afghan government have in the United States will not be made available to the Taliban."

The central bank's gross reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April, according to the International Monetary Fund.

But most of those funds are held outside of Afghanistan, according to a person familiar with the issue.

It was not immediately clear what share is held in the United States.

Meanwhile, several airlines are avoiding flights over the South Asian country after the Taliban took over the capital - Kabul.

British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air France and Virgin Atlantic announced they are no longer flying over the country as the local aviation authority urged them to re-route after it gave airspace to the military.

In a statement on Monday, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said any transit through the Kabul airspace would be “uncontrolled”.

The Taliban have retaken Afghanistan nearly 20 years after being ousted by Western forces for supporting al-Qaeda following the events of 11 September 2001. Here is a timeline of key events in Afghanistan since 1979. Picture: AFP

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