About $ 12.3 million in cash and gold bars were found in the homes and offices of some Afghan dignitaries who belonged to the former Afghan regime, according to the Afghan Central Bank.
“The money found came from senior leaders of the previous government, such as Amrullah Saleh, and some security agencies who kept silver and gold in their offices,” the Central Bank statement said. Saleh was the former vice president of Afghanistan and stepped in as the country’s “interim” president after Ashraf Ghani fled in August.
The Taliban have denounced the corruption of the former regime after taking control of the country a month ago. They have since touted their own integrity in national finances, with the Central Bank claiming to have transferred everything “to the national coffers” in the name of “transparency”.
The results come just two days after foreign donors pledged collectively $ 1.1 billion to help Afghanistan as it has been plunged into poverty and hunger since the Taliban takeover.
Despite the abrupt end of billions of dollars in aid flows when the Taliban took control, Afghanistan’s neighbors, China and Pakistan, have already started sending money and vaccines against the coronavirus. The United States has pledged $ 64 million and Norway has pledged an additional $ 11.5 million.
Speaking at a UN conference on Afghanistan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was too early to say how much had been pledged in response to the call.
Relief money is needed more than ever as Afghans face “perhaps their most perilous hour,” he said.
What is the situation on the ground?
Four million Afghans face “a food emergency,” according to the UN, and the World Food Program has said 14 million people are on the brink of famine across the country.
It is generally feared that food reserves will be completely depleted as winter approaches. Money is needed to plant winter grains and feed livestock so that harvests can remain successful in a country that depends on agriculture for 25% of the country’s GDP.
70% of the Afghan population lives in rural areas and many of these communities also suffer from severe drought affecting 7.3 million Afghans in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces.
In the cities, people who depended on the government to pay their salaries, such as police officers and civil servants, have not received their salaries since July.