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Afghan Crypto Users are Now a Target for the Taliban

Afghan police is investigating cryptocurrency sellers for dealing in what the country’s central bank has deemed “fraudulent digital currencies.”

The Taliban is on the prowl for cryptocurrency owners

According to a recent Bloomberg story, the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan is prosecuting cryptocurrency traders who refuse to cease trading digital assets. The raid comes less than a month after the country’s central bank declared a blanket ban on cryptocurrency.

Herat is Afghanistan’s third biggest city, and it is home to four of the country’s six cryptocurrency exchanges. According to Saadaat, 20 crypto firms in the city have been shuttered, and 13 individuals have been detained.

Prior to the central bank’s broad prohibition on the technology, demand for cryptocurrencies, particularly stablecoins, was strong in Afghanistan. They provide consumers with a safe method to store their riches as well as a mechanism to transfer money across (or out of) the nation. Stablecoins are digital currencies that try to keep the same value as government-issued money like the US dollar or the euro.

Since the 1990s, Afghanistan has been subjected to harsh economic sanctions. Shortly after the Taliban took over and occupied Kabul, the Biden administration put in place new sanctions and seized more than $7 billion in Afghan currency held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Afghanistan is hardly the only nation adopting a hard line against cryptocurrency. In order to keep the currency stable, Russian President Vladimir Putin has passed laws making crypto payments illegal. In the summer of 2021, China notably outlawed cryptocurrency and Bitcoin mining.