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Taliban Bans Use Of Foreign Currencies

A money changer holds afghani banknotes at a currency exchange market. (file photo)

The Taliban has announced a ban on the use of foreign currencies in Afghanistan, threatening further disruption to an economy pushed to the brink of collapse following the hard-line Islamic group’s takeover in August.

From now on, anyone using foreign currency for domestic business will be prosecuted, the Taliban said in a statement shared with journalists on November 2.

"The economic situation and national interests in the country require that all Afghans use the afghani currency in every transaction," the statement said.

The national currency, the afghani, has dramatically depreciated since the Taliban overthrew the internationally backed government in mid-August.

Many transactions inside the war-torn, drought-stricken country are conducted in U.S. dollars, while border areas use the currency of neighboring countries such as Pakistan for trade.

With Afghanistan's economy in a parlous state with most aid cut off as winter nears, food prices rising, and unemployment spiking, the Taliban is seeking international recognition and is pressing for the release of billions of dollars of frozen Afghan assets parked abroad.

Afghanistan was heavily dependent on international funding for the last 20 years, with three-quarters of the entire public spending budget coming from aid.

In an effort to try and contain the spiraling humanitarian crisis, the international community has announced support packages for Afghanistan and its neighbors.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters