The Biden administration is trying to stop the flow of $ 450 million to the Taliban

The Treasury Department is taking steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing IMF funds, a Treasury official told CNN on Wednesday.

They note that it would “provide nearly half a billion dollars of unconditional liquidity to a regime with a history of supporting terrorist actions against the United States and its allies.”

GOP lawmakers, including Rep. French Hill of Arkansas, requested an update from Yellen by 5 pm ET on Thursday.

The secretary of the Treasury cannot act unilaterally here. This is a matter for the broader membership of the IMF, which includes 190 member countries, including Russia, China and Iran.

The controversy revolves around a previously scheduled allocation of the IMF’s own money, known as Special Drawing Rightss. SDRs can be exchanged for US dollars, euros, yen, Chinese yuan and sterling. The value of an SDR is set per day, based on a basket of currencies.

If no action is taken, SDRs worth approximately $ 450 million are due to be allocated to Afghanistan on Monday, hitting bank accounts Tuesday or Wednesday.

Even the apparent head of Afghanistan’s central bank isn’t sure what will happen next.

“Not sure if that allocation will continue today,” said Adjmal Ahmady, the acting governor of Afghanistan’s Central Bank. Twitter on Wednesday. Ahmady said he fled the country on Sunday when the government collapsed.
Usually, when there is a dispute about who has power in a country that is set to receive SDRs, the IMF will vote its members on how to proceed. In 2019, the IMF cut Venezuela from $ 400 million in cash held the fund after most of its members refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Since the collapse of the Afghan government, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have been quick to say they do not recognize the Taliban as the country’s legitimate government. But it’s not clear where other major countries, including Russia and China, will stand here.

Both the IMF and the Treasury Department declined to comment.

The United States has already taken steps to prevent the flow of even a larger amount of money to the Taliban. Officials told CNN earlier this week that the Treasury Department essentially blocked assets held by the Afghan Central Bank from being reached by the Taliban.

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