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Afghan crisis: ‘We don’t have any physical money’ says central bank governor

Ajmal Ahmady, governor of Da Afghanistan Bank, Afghanistan’s central bank, gives Euromoney the inside story on his escape from the stricken country.

Afghan people climb atop a Kam Air plane as mayhem ensues at Kabul airport on Monday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

It is deep into the night of Sunday, August 15, and in the hold of a troop transport plane, 8,000 metres above the vast Dasht-e Naomid desert that spans the Iran-Afghanistan frontier, one of the most senior officials of the Afghan government is fashioning a thread of tweets on his iPhone reflecting on the mayhem that he fled hours just earlier in Kabul.

That man is Ajmal Ahmady, the 43-year-old Harvard-educated governor of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), Afghanistan’s central bank, nephew-by-marriage of Afghanistan’s ousted president Ashraf Ghani, who himself had fled Kabul in disgrace to the UAE earlier that day as the capital fell – again – to the Taliban after 20 years of western-financed misrule.

Ahmady will begin hitting the send button on his Twitter app when the military transport he managed to board in the bedlam that was Kabul’s airport earlier that evening arrives at its base.

Those tweets – 16 of them initially, followed by another 15 two days later – have since become a grim portal into the anarchy that has overwhelmed Afghanistan and its financial system.

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