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Afghan people wait to collect money from an ATM in Kabul on Friday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

A developing economic crisis in Afghanistan is adding a fresh layer of turmoil in the country.

Why it matters: “[T]he value of the Afghan currency could collapse, inflation could accelerate and the mix of violence and chaos could be prolonged,” the AP writes.

What’s new: Wire-transfer services Western Union and MoneyGram stopped facilitating payments into Afghanistan, a flow of money that’s “a key source of support for many Afghan families,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • The backdrop: ATMs are running out of cash. Prices for a range of essentials like flour and oil are rising sharply.

The big picture: The country’s economy has relied on foreign aid that’s at risk of shriveling up with the Taliban takeover.

What to watch: The Taliban appointed Mohammad Idris — “an obscure official” — as acting head of Afghanistan’s central bank, charged with steering monetary policy, Bloomberg reports.

The afghani, the country’s currency, is in freefall. For a place that facilitates trade in U.S. dollars, any imports will get more expensive.

  • What they're saying: “If the Taliban don’t get cash infusions soon to defend the afghani, I think there’s a real risk of a currency devaluation that makes it hard to buy bread on the streets of Kabul for ordinary people," the Overseas Development Institute’s Graeme Smith tells the AP.

The bottom line: “Afghanistan, unfortunately, was already facing multiple crises. … What you have on top of that is going to be economic hardships,” Ajmal Ahmady, who served as Afghanistan's central bank chief until the government fell and he fled the country, told CNN.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 safely leaves Afghanistan

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House residence. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

An Afghan interpreter who helped rescue President Biden in Afghanistan in 2008 when he was a senator has safely left the country with his wife and five children, the State Department confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Aman Khalili, who was instrumental to the mission that rescued Biden's helicopter when it was caught in a snowstorm according to U.S. veterans, was forced into hiding after the Taliban took over Kabul.

7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.

40 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.