US envoy says Afghanistan to get new banknotes

Photo: Reuters

US special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has said that new banknotes will be printed but he did not know when the process will be complete.

“I’m very pleased to say that in the past 24 hours we have finally seen the conclusion of two currency transactions and this will mean that new printed Afghani will replace banknotes that ( …) are virtually disintegrating in the system,” West said in a virtual meeting on Friday.

“I don’t have a great sense of exactly when those banknotes are going to show up in Afghanistan but we’re going to continue supporting priority transactions,” he said.

He also spoke about Afghanistan’s frozen funds and the process through which it will reach Afghanistan.

West added that the first meeting of the board of trustees would take place in Switzerland likely next month.

The US envoy stated that the basic governance structure of the organization is in place and that it will evolve.

He said that there is a board of trustees of four members, from the US and Switzerland, a former finance minister of Afghanistan Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi and former Afghanistan Central Bank governor Shah Mehrabi.

“There will be an additional advisory body also of Afghans who are professionals who have experience in these spaces, who can initiate their own ideas about how this money should be protected, preserved and spent in limited quantities,” he added.

“The vast majority of this 3.5 billion will be untouched,” he said. “It will be preserved for a future recapitalization of the central bank and financial system in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan Central Bank assets were frozen by the United States after the fall of the previous government in August 2021. Out of the $7 billion in frozen assets, the remaining $3.5 billion is tied up in a US federal court case involving the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.