A Polish firm has delivered Afghani banknotes to Kabul this week after the United States paved the way for the Afghan central bank to make a payment via international banking systems, a member of the bank’s supreme council told Reuters on Wednesday.
The payment represents a shift for Afghanistan’s central bank, which has been largely cut off from the international financial system since hardline Islamist Taliban insurgents seized power in the country last year. Some Taliban members are subject to international sanctions.
The Afghan central bank held a contract with a Polish company for the printing of its banknotes but had been unable until early July to begin payment.
Without access to fresh banknotes for more than a year, Afghanistan’s cash has been deteriorating, with notes torn in shreds or held together with cellotape, exacerbating the impoverished country’s liquidity crisis.
“Afghanistan’s markets run primarily on cash, but existing banknotes are crumbling …The Central Bank will be able to replace old and damaged banknotes, and this will improve the Afghan people’s ability to purchase food and other necessary items,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson said.