Afghanistan’s looming financial collapse is little worry for the Taliban

Reuters reported this week: “The United Nations on Monday pushed for urgent action to prop up Afghanistan’s banks, warning that a spike in people unable to repay loans, lower deposits and a cash liquidity crunch could cause the financial system to collapse within months.”

Despite the fact that the West could intervene, the Taliban are generally being blamed for the impending crisis. The determination to resist formal diplomatic contact remains firm, and although some talks continue in Doha, these partly relate to the US fear of an al-Qaida resurgence.

Both Russia and Iran lack the means to pump substantial financial assistance into Afghanistan, but they are likely to privately support any UN initiatives. Insofar as it has influence, Russia will no doubt use its continuing diplomatic presence in Kabul to encourage some moderation in the regime, not least on women’s rights, but the influence is likely to be minimal.

Opium production is dispersed across rural Afghanistan, largely in the hands of small-scale farmers, so the Taliban were able to gain wide-ranging control of output by becoming increasingly embedded in rural areas.

The Taliban’s control of drug production means that no matter what state the national economy is in, they will enjoy healthy revenue streams.

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