Sumary of Anti-laundering unit goes off-grid, fraying Afghan ties to global finance:
- By Tom Arnold7 Min ReadLONDON (Reuters) – A unit in Afghanistan’s central bank leading a 15-year effort to counter illicit funding flows has halted operations, four staff members said, threatening to hasten the country’s slide out of the global financial system.
- With the Islamist militant movement back in power, the absence of a functioning financial intelligence unit (FIU) could curtail Afghanistan’s links to the international financial system and to lenders abroad, some experts warned.
- Such units, which scrutinise money flows for potential suspicious activity, are critical for any nation that seeks to participate in the global financial community, said Stuart Jones, Jr.
- , founder and chief executive of risk intelligence firm Sigma Ratings.
- He was also U.S. Treasury attache to Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010.Reconnecting with the financial system could be complicated by existing sanctions against the Taliban and the fact that a senior government minister heads a U.S.-designated terrorist organisation.
- “Afghanistan was considered high-risk by nearly all global financial institutions pre-Taliban takeover,” said Jones.
- “Now, with untested leadership at the central bank, an inoperable financial intelligence unit and current asset freezes on the ruling government by the United Nations and terror designations of key figures by the United States, I would expect foreign financial institutions to tread extremely carefully.