With the Taliban back in power, what funding can it access?

People line up in Kabul on Sept. 1 to withdraw money from banks, which have been directed to limit withdrawals by individual customers to no more than $200 a week. (EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last month, it inherited a fragile, aid-dependent economy in a country where, by official estimates, about 90 percent of the people live below the poverty line.

In the chaotic two weeks since, Afghans have waited hours, even days, in line to withdraw money from banks or buy basic essentials, in sharp contrast to the extremist group’s promises that Afghanistan is open to international business.

“I invite you all to come and invest in Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday in a speech at the Kabul airport before a male-only crowd. “Your investments will be in good hands. The country will be stable and safe.”

But it’s not that simple.

Because of the Taliban’s brutal record of suppressing religious and political freedoms, including a governing system built around gender-based violence, several countries and international institutions have cut off the government financially.

Here’s what that could mean for the Taliban and the Afghan people.

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