Afghanistan Facing Insolvency Within A Month, Say Officials

The Afghan government will struggle to pay its bills "within a month" after the International Monetary Fund rejected proposals for resolving the Kabul Bank scandal, western officials have warned, The Guardian reported. Although the war-torn country's biggest bank nearly collapsed last September, the government of Hamid Karzai and the international community are still at loggerheads over plans to fund an $820m (£507m) bailout as well as how the disgraced former managers and shareholders who helped themselves to hundreds of millions of dollars should be prosecuted. As long as the IMF declares the plans to be inadequate, many countries, including Britain, are legally barred from pumping money into a government that is almost completely reliant on foreign cash to pay civil servants' salaries. It was reported by Reuters that the IMF has now formally rejected the Afghan government's proposals, meaning aid disbursements will remain on hold. The failure to reach a deal by a deadline of last Saturday also meant a $70m payment from the World Bank's Afghan reconstruction trust fund was automatically withheld. Two senior western officials said the government will face a cash crisis in the coming weeks and could struggle to pay staff bills, although one predicted this would be avoided by cutting other spending priorities. Read more.