Afghanistan Turmoil: Taliban name acting head of central bank amid economic uncertainty

The Taliban have appointed an acting head of Afghanistan's central bank to help ease growing economic turmoil, more than a week after the Islamist movement seized the capital Kabul, a statement said on Monday. Haji Mohammad Idris was named as acting governor of the bank to help bring order to a war-crippled economy, which has been adrift for more than a week with banks closed and many government offices empty. Alex Zerden, Former US Treasury Department Financial Attaché to Afghanistan, was previously stationed in Kabul and is "gravely concerned that (the Taliban) are expanding their sources of revenue: they control customs entry points, they control taxation through wider swaths of the country, and now they have more free rein to take control of the drug trade in Afghanistan, and it's a very very robust export market." And so the challenge that US policymakers will be encountering and "rapidly grappling with," as Mr. Zerden explains, will be "how to get aid and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, while insuring that the Taliban does not access the US financial system or the international financial system." Alex Zerden is also the founder of Capitol Peak Strategies, a fintech, digital asset, and emerging technologies advisory firm.