Afghan Biographies

Mehrabi, Shah Mohammad Dr.

Name Mehrabi, Shah Mohammad Dr.
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1952
Function/Grade Central State Bank of Afghanistan Da Afghanistan Bank Board
History and Biodata

2. Previous Function:
Economics professor at Montgomery College in Maryland
Member of Supreme Council, (Supervisory Board or Board of Directors) Da Afghanistan Bank, Cetral State Bank of Afghanistan (2002 till today)

3. Biodata:
Dr. Shah Mohammad Mehrabi was born  1952  and has gained his bachelor’s degree in economics from polytechnic university in California. He then completed his Master’s degree in economics from Cincinnati University and obtained his doctorate degree in economics from the US. Dr. Mehrabi has served as senior advisor of economic policies at the finance ministry as well as instructed economics at master’s and bachelor’s level in Maine University. Moreover, he has chaired the Global Awareness Society International and Virginia Association of Economists and later served as Editor-in-Chief of Global Awareness Society’s magazine. Adding to his track record, he has also served as member of North American Economic and Finance Association (NAEFA) and as member of the executive board of Middle East Economic Association. Dr. Mehrabi has great professional knowledge and proficiency in financial and banking fields and holds rich working and teaching experience. He has written many of scientific-professional articles about economics, finance, banking and development. Some prominent titles are: “Financial Sector in Afghanistan”, “Central Banking and Monetary Policy in Mexico”, “Development Planning and Policy-Making in Iran”, “Afghanistan Customs Five-Year Strategic Plan”, “Recent Developments in the Middle East”, “Sudan’s Tax Structure and Agriculture”, “Foreign Direct Investment in Puerto Rico”, “Economic Impact of OPEC”.

Mehrabi is proposing that Washington allow the new government in Kabul a limited amount of access each month, perhaps in the range of $100m to $125m to start with, that would be monitored by an independent auditor. If the assets remain entirely frozen, then inflation will continue to soar, Afghans will not be able to afford basic necessities, and the central bank will lose its main tools for conducting monetary policy, he said.


The Afghan central bank ran down most of its U.S. dollar cash reserves in the weeks before the Taliban took control of the country, according to an assessment prepared for Afghanistan's international donors, exacerbating the current economic crisis.
The confidential, two-page brief, written early this month by senior international economic officials for institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said the country's severe cash shortage began before the Taliban took control of Kabul.
It criticised how the central bank's former leadership handled the crisis in the months before the Taliban's conquest, including decisions to auction unusually large amounts of U.S. dollars and move money from Kabul to provincial branches.
"FX (foreign exchange) reserves in CB's (central bank) vaults in Kabul have depleted, the CB cannot meet ... cash requests," the report, seen by Reuters, said.
"The biggest source of the problem is the mismanagement at the central bank prior to the Taliban takeover," it added.
Shah Mehrabi, chairman of the central bank's audit committee who helped oversee the bank before the Taliban took over and is still in his post, defended the central bank's actions, saying it was trying to prevent a run on the local Afghani currency.
The extent of the cash shortage can be seen on the streets of Afghan cities, where people have been queuing for hours to withdraw dollar savings amid strict limits on how much they can take out.
Even before the shock of the Western-backed government's collapse, the economy was struggling, but the return of the Taliban and abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign aid has left it in deep crisis.
Prices for staples like flour have spiralled while work has dried up, leaving millions facing hunger as winter approaches.
Under the previous government, the central bank relied on cash shipments of $249 million, delivered roughly every three months in boxes of bound $100 notes and stored in the vaults of the central bank and presidential palace, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.
That money has dried up as foreign powers shy away from dealing directly with the Taliban, which fought against foreign troops and the ousted government. Thousands of people - many of them civilians - died.
The central bank, which plays a key role in Afghanistan because it distributes aid from countries like the United States, said on Wednesday it had finalised a plan to meet the country's foreign currency needs. It gave no details.
The hard currency crunch is making it difficult for the Taliban to meet basic needs, including paying for power or dispersing salaries to government employees, many of whom have not been paid in months.
Afghanistan's roughly $9 billion of offshore reserves were frozen as soon as the Taliban captured Kabul, leaving the central bank with just the cash in its vaults.
According to the report, the central bank auctioned off $1.5 billion between June 1 and Aug. 15 to local foreign exchange dealers, which it said was "strikingly high".
"By August 15, the Central Bank had an outstanding liability of $700 million and 50 billion Afghanis ($569 million) towards the commercial banks," it said, adding that this had been a major factor in emptying its coffers.
Afghan central bank official Mehrabi said, however, that although almost $1.5 billion of auctions had been announced, the actual amount sold was $714 million.
He said the central bank had "continued its foreign exchange auction to reduce the depreciation and inflation."
The report also questioned a decision by the central bank to shift some of its reserves to provincial branches, putting it at risk as Taliban militants made advances across the country from late 2020 in the runup to their victory.
It said around $202 million was kept in these branches at the end of 2020, compared with $12.9 million in 2019, and that the cash was not moved as provinces started to fall to the insurgents.
"Some money is reportedly lost (stolen) from 'some' of the provincial branches," the report said, without specifying how much.
Mehrabi said the central bank was investigating money "stolen" from three of its branches, although not by the Taliban. He gave no further details.
Former central bank governor Ajmal Ahmady, who left the country the day after Kabul fell, did not respond to emails and other messages requesting comment on his and the bank's actions in the months before the Taliban returned to power.(20210930)


Last Modified 2021-09-30
Established 2009-12-20