IMF Wants Afghanistan's Troubled Kabul Bank Sold Off

The International Monetary Fund has recommended that Afghanistan's largest and most troubled bank be placed in receivership and then sold off to recover from reckless lending that brought it to the brink of collapse last year, The Washington Post reported. After a visit to Kabul this month, the IMF recommended that the Afghan government implement several "immediate measures" to deal with Kabul Bank, including prosecuting fraud and placing it under receivership. "This will be followed by a process where the bank will be rapidly sold or wound down and the central bank is recapitalized with government resources as needed," the IMF said in a statement released Tuesday. Depositors mobbed the bank in the fall and withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars after Afghanistan's Central Bank took control of it. Kabul Bank lent more than $900 million, much of it to politically connected shareholders, who were not paying back their loans. Kabul Bank officials have also been accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to senior Afghan officials. Among the shareholders are brothers of President Hamid Karzai and of Vice President Mohammed Fahim. Read more.