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Main money exchange market reopens in Kabul

The nearby business hub, Kabul’s Mandawi, has also opened, however, business and daily working are not good as the central part of the capital city hasn’t returned to normal with crowds remaining.

IANS | Kabul |

The main money exchange market in Kabul has reopened, 10 days after the Taliban takeover as a banking crisis still exists in the war-torn country, a local source said.

“Sarai Shahzada private exchange market reopened on Saturday after Da Afghanistan Bank, or central bank on September 2 announced that the market would start operation soon,” a money exchange dealer, Najibullah, told Xinhua news agency.

The foreign currency exchange rates are still in fluctuation as the rates are not stable and change frequently during the day, he said.

“One US dollar was traded between 87 and 89 afghani after reopening of the market on Saturday morning. Before Taliban takeover 10 days ago one dollar was equal to 79 afghanis,” Najibullah said.

The nearby business hub, Kabul’s Mandawi, has also opened, however, business and daily working are not good as the central part of the capital city hasn’t returned to normal with crowds remaining. There are few customers at the business center, he said.

The market at Kabul’s heart not only assists ordinary people in sending, receiving, and changing money but also assists the government in conducting financial transactions.

“There is a huge banking crisis in the country now. Long lines of people stand outside main branches of government-run and private banks around the city every day. The branches of the banks do not open so far. People cannot withdraw their money, they only get $200 or 20,000 afghani on a weekly basis as ordered by the central bank,” he said.

It will undoubtedly help ameliorate the situation, said Razle Rabbi, a market member. “The situation was not good because of the closure of banks and Sarai Shahzada market, he explained, adding: “But we hope things will improve gradually.”

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the country’s largest money exchange market and business center started normal business operations in Kabul.

On Thursday, the country’s central bank, De Afghanistan Bank, stated in a statement that people and moneychangers can resume normal operations.

The decision was made following consultations with the Sarai Shahzada market’s council.

“People can resume their routine financial transactions. We promise to bring more facilities in banking services across the country,” the statement said.

The private Western Union and Money Gram, two money transfer service agencies, also resumed their operations in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces on September 3 and people can now get money from abroad, according to local media reports.