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Asiamoney

Afghanistan: Central bank governor talks about ‘mayhem and chaos’

In an exclusive interview with Asiamoney, Afghanistan central bank governor Ajmal Ahmady talks about the likely future of banks under Taliban rule and his own experience escaping from the country

The flag of Afghanistan flying on the Embassy of the Islamic...
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Just days after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Asiamoney speaks to Ajmal Ahmady, governor of Da Afghanistan Bank, the central bank, about the plight of people in the country, and the way forward for its financial industry.

In this Q&A, Ahmady, who managed to flee Afghanistan at the eleventh hour, offers a glimpse of what may be to come.

Asiamoney: At what point did you feel the urgent need to leave Kabul?

Ajmal Ahmady, Da Afghanistan Bank governor: The speed of what was happening was just difficult to understand. I think obviously, over the past few months, there was a level of concern and then when the first provincial capital fell [Zaranj, in Western Afghanistan], it increased. There were rumors that there was a strategy to leave even smaller provincial capitals [to the Taliban]. It's just one week ago when a number of major provincial capitals [notably Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city] fell.

Personally, it was on Saturday evening [August 14]. People always say that in 1996, when the Taliban first took over, that there weren't gunfights in the street.