Afghan police shut down crypto exchanges to enforce prohibition

A month after issuing a warning regarding continued activity, the Afghan central bank proclaimed forex trading to be against Islam and illegal; as a result, arrests have now been made.
Afghan police shut down crypto exchanges to enforce prohibition
Afghan police shut down crypto exchanges to enforce prohibition

According to a report in Ariana News, a local independent news source, police have shut down at least 16 bitcoin exchanges in the western Afghan province of Herat in the past week. According to a local police official quoted in the newspaper, arrests were made during the closures.

According to the article, the closures were implemented in reaction to a roughly three-month-old prohibition on cryptocurrency trading. It appears to have been referring to the central bank Da Afghanistan Bank’s June ban on dealing foreign exchange online. At the time, a representative for the central bank told Bloomberg:

“There is no instruction in Islamic law to approve it [online forex trading]. As a result, we have banned it.”

Ghulam Mohammad Suhrabi, the head of the Herat Money Exchangers’ Union, stated to Ariana News, “Digital currency accounts are outside the country and are purchased from the companies. Our people are not familiar with it, so it is better not to use it.”

The central bank would start prosecuting Afghans who disregarded the restriction, Ariana News reported in July. According to the central bank, no licenses have been issued for internet trading, rendering all such conduct unlawful, according to the journal.

After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2021, cryptocurrency use there skyrocketed and the nation’s already unstable economy was severely weakened. Western Union and Swift left the country, making it more difficult to receive international remittances, which increased interest in cryptocurrencies. A WhatsApp group for cryptocurrency trading has 13,000 members in Herat, according to a March Al-Jazeera report.

Additionally, cryptocurrency has shown to be a useful channel for Western contributions to Afghanistan. Companies like Women for Afghan Women have used cryptocurrency to deliver charity inside the nation.