Applying US sanctions on Afghanistan’s cash-strapped Taliban depends on the group’s behavior, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
Asked about sanctions against the Taliban in a press conference, Psaki said: “It depends on what their behavior is. The President clearly outlined that we are going to be watching, as the world will, what the Taliban does.”
She said the US will be specifically watching for allowing American citizens, Afghans and US partners to depart Afghanistan, and how the Taliban operates when it relates to the treatment of women and human rights.
“There’s a great deal of economic leverage, sanctions that are already in place, that we and the global community have. We will assess over the course of the coming days, weeks, and months,” Psaki added.
One of the biggest challenges to Taliban rule is the cash crisis in the country.
The Taliban lack access to billions of dollars from their central bank and the International Monetary Fund that would keep the country running during a turbulent shakeup. Those funds are largely controlled by the US and international institutions.
The group that seized control of Afghanistan on August 15 does not currently have institutional structures to receive the money — a sign of the challenges it might confront as it tries to govern an economy that has urbanized and tripled in size since they were last in power two decades ago.
The shortfall could lead to an economic crisis that would only fuel a deeper humanitarian one for the roughly 36 million Afghans expected to stay in the country.