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People line up outside AZIZI Bank to take out cash amid a money crisis in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Getty Images

Afghanistan’s financial system was plunged into chaos this week as the Taliban took over the nation’s government.

What happened: The country’s currency, the Afghani, fell to its weakest value on record after numerous government officials — including Ashraf Ghani and central bank governor Ajmal Ahmady — fled the country, Bloomberg reported.

  • Ahmady tweeted a searing first-person account of the events of the past week that culminated in his boarding a military plane at the Kabul airport on Sunday.
  • Ahmady wrote that on Friday his office was notified they would not receive any more dollar shipments, which meant that the central bank had less currency to supply to the markets — which "further increased the panic."

Amid fears that the Taliban may get its hands on the Afghan central bank's $9.4 billion in international reserves, the Biden administration froze access to the bank's assets held in the U.S.

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and officials in the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control made that decision over the weekend, the Washington Post reports.
  • Of Da Afghanistan Bank's $9.4 billion in reserves, billions are thought to be kept in the U.S., according to the Post.

Go deeper

Yellen: Treasury will take "extraordinary measures" until Dec. 3 debt limit deadline

Janet Yellen. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders in a letter Monday that the Treasury will take "extraordinary measures" to manage its cash and not exceed the debt limit through Dec. 3, the earliest deadline for lawmakers to once again raise the debt limit or risk a default.

Driving the news: Congress last week averted a government default by raising the borrowing cap by $480 billion, after a protracted partisan battle.

Updated 24 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 24 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."