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IMF calls for continued aid to Afghanistan

IMF calls for continued aid to Afghanistan

By
On
Sep 26, 2011 - 17:35

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged donors to continue extending assistance to Afghanistaninfo-icon, a Ministry of Finance (MoF) official said on Monday.

The call came at the annual IMF-Worldinfo-icon Bank meeting in Washington, MoF spokesman Aziz Shams told Pajhwok Afghan News. The finance minister represented Afghanistan at the three-day meeting.

Last year, the Fund asked the Karzai government to pressure Parliament to pass a $83 million bailout package for Kabul Bank, the country's largest private-sector bank. However, the demand is yet to be met.

IMF officials had also threatened the cash-strapped government with an aid freeze if banking problems were not adequately addressed. Since March, Afghanistan has received no IMF aid.

Minister of Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal told parliamentarians on Sept. 17 that the landlocked could run into a severe financial crisis if they did not approve a $52 million fund to bail out the troubled bank.

The bank ran into financial problems due to unauthorised loans and other anomalies last year. Later, the Ministry of Finance accepted some shares of the bank, currently operating under the name of New Kabul Bank.

But Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon member Siddique Ahmad Osmani said they would not okay any bailout package for the bank unless those responsible for the crisis were put behind bars.

Ex-Governor of Da Afghanistan Bank Abdul Qadeer Fitrat had informed the house that Mahmood Karzai, a brother of President Hamid Karzai, and a relative of Vice-President Mohammad Qasim Fahim were among Kabul Bank's major loanees.

The call for continued assistance to Afghanistan meant the IMF had lifted the aid freeze, Shams said, hoping that the donors' reluctance had been removed in the wake of the Washington meeting.

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