Taliban appoints its finance minister as head of central bank

The Taliban’s former acting finance minister, Mullah Hidayatullah Badri, has been appointed as governor of Afghanistan’s central bank and has already taken up his new role.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a Taliban finance ministry spokesman, on Wednesday confirmed the appointment but gave no reason for the move.

Badri, who had been a close aide and long-time associate of  Taliban founding leader Mullah Omar, originally hails from Kandahar. During the insurgency period, Badri led the Taliban’s financial commission.

A number of countries and international organizations; including the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, have implemented sanctions against him.

During the Taliban’s first regime, Badri served as Omar’s principal finance officer and one of his closest advisors and lived with the late leader in the presidential palace.

On 24 August 2021, he was appointed acting finance minister by the Taliban after they took control of the country.

Afghanistan’s central bank appointments have meanwhile been closely watched by Washington, which froze billions of the bank’s reserves held in the U.S. and later transferred half of the money to a trust fund in Switzerland overseen by U.S., Swiss and Afghan trustees.

One of several proposed U.S. conditions on considering letting the central bank access to the funds has been replacement of senior Taliban members at the institution with experienced professionals, Reuters reported. The aim would be to build confidence in the central bank being insulated from political interference.