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Amrullah Saleh Slams Taliban's 'Money Launderer' Pick for Central Bank Head. Who is Haji Mohammad Idris?

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Idris is expected to help organise institutions and address the economic issues facing the population. (Reuters File)

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Idris is expected to help organise institutions and address the economic issues facing the population. (Reuters File)

A senior Taliban official said Idris had long experience working on financial issues with the previous leader of the movement, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a drone strike in 2016.

Amrullah Saleh has warned that terrorist groups are taking over war-torn Afghanistan as he slammed the Taliban for picking “money launderer” Haji Mohammad Idris as acting head of Afghanistan’s central bank.

“A money launderer who was facilitating transactions between al-Qaeda sympathisers and Taliban has become governor of Afghan central bank, Haqqanis are running Kabul…needless to explain who Haqqanis are. This is a shame and betrayal and I don’t want to be a part of that shame and betrayal,” the acting president of Afghanistan said in an exclusive interview to CNN-News18.

But just who is Idris?

Haji Mohammad Idris was named as acting governor of the bank to help bring order to a war-crippled economy, which has been adrift for more than a week with banks closed and many government offices empty.

He was expected to help organise institutions and address the economic issues facing the population, a statement from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

The appointment, which came as Iran resumed fuel exports to Afghanistan, comes amid increasingly acute economic problems, with government workers unpaid, many businesses closed and growing pressure on prices of staples including food and fuel.

A senior Taliban official said Idris, from the northern province of Jawzjan, had long experience working on financial issues with the previous leader of the movement, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a drone strike in 2016.

While Idris had no public profile outside the movement and no formal financial training or higher education, he was head of the movement’s finance section and respected for his expertise, a senior Taliban leader said.

“There are many people who were unknown to the world but they held key positions and had great contributions. Haji Idris is among them," he said. “I believe he has not even studied religious studies but was expert in financial matters."

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first published:August 25, 2021, 13:54 IST