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LONDON: The International Monetary Fund is “carefully watching” the Taliban’s advance in Afghanistan a spokesperson said on Friday, but added it was too early to predict the economic spillover in neighbouring IMF programme countries like Pakistan.

Taliban insurgents tightened their grip on Afghanistan on Friday, wresting control of its second and third biggest cities. read more

“The IMF is carefully watching the fast-moving situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” an IMF spokesperson told Reuters. “It is premature to speculate on the outcome and potential economic spillovers to Pakistan”.

IMF ‘carefully watching’ Afghanistan, too soon to predict spillover to Pakistan

Pakistan has a $6 billion IMF programme that began in 2019. The government and the Fund’s staff have been in talks in recent months to try to finalise the programme’s latest progress review but are yet to reach agreement.

“We stand ready to continue supporting Pakistan achieve the objectives of debt sustainability and strong and sustainable growth,” the IMF spokesperson said.

“No date is currently set for concluding these (review) talks, as we are focused on the reforms and policy steps needed to achieve the programme objectives,” which include reducing debt and reforming the country’s energy sector, the spokesperson added.

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