Pashtana Durrani, founder of an organization that seeks to educate women and children in Afghanistan, claimed the Taliban lacks financial literacy, particularly in crypto.
In an interview with Pod Save the World’s Tommy Vietor on Wednesday, Pashtana Durrani, founder of LEARN Afghanistan, said the international community, notably the US, should consider lifting sanctions on Afghanistan and unfreezing foreign government money. She went further to describe the Taliban as “people fighting in remote and very hilly locations” who lack contemporary financial knowledge.
Durrani claims that restricting international funding to Afghanistan through NGOs and other institutions provides the Taliban an edge over adopting new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies.
“When I say unfreeze the assets, send it in cryptocurrency,” Durrani stated. “Send it to a private bank – they won’t get it […] the taliban don’t have banks Taliban fought in rural and hilly areas. They didn’t have time to go to a bank and fill out forms.”
Afghanistan has experienced several difficulties since the Taliban took office in August. Aside from the threat posed by armed religious fanatics running the government, millions of Afghans are food insecure and struggling economically. Many locals are still unable to withdraw cash from banks due to international sanctions targeting the Taliban.
“The sanction is only hurting the people who had savings in the bank accounts. It’s hurting the teachers, it’s hurting the students, it’s hurting all those people who actually worked in the past two decades — it’s never going to hurt Taliban.”
Durrani has called for harnessing digital assets as a force for good in the face of what she views as inadequate penalties. The internet has enabled good Samaritans to give directly to victims of conflict, starvation, and other tragedies in nations like Iran and Yemen.
“Afghanistan can be put into those great lists of [the Financial Action Task Force] and all that,” said Durrani. “It could be one of those countries where you just start using cryptocurrency — legitimize it, whatever — but at the end of the day you’re hurting the wrong kind of people to punish the people who are in power.”