DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – With the Taliban cementing its grip over Afghanistan, the country faces an economic cataclysm as world powers and international financial institutions move to withhold or freeze billions of dollars in assets and aid from a government run by a pariah movement.

The militant group’s blitz into the Afghan capital, Kabul, leaves it in charge of a war-stressed state heavily reliant on outside dollars that over the last two decades have covered three quarters of government spending. Some of that may be in jeopardy as the Taliban is subject to a bevy of sanctions from the U.S., European Union and the United Nations.

Without that money – Kabul received $4.2 billion in development assistance in 2019 – the government is all but bankrupt. The Taliban is facing enormous pressure to show Afghans and the world that, beyond upholding the tenets of Islam, it can pay civil servants, buy fuel, pick up garbage,…

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