The United Nations on Monday called for urgent action to amp up Afghanistan’s banks. It warned that a rise in people unable to pay back loans, lower deposits and a cash liquidity crunch could amount to the collapse of the financial system within months.

The UN Development Programme, in a 3-page report, said that the economic cost of a banking system collapse “would be colossal.”

Since the Taliban came to power on August 15, there has been a withdrawal of most foreign development support. This sent Afghanistan’s economy into a nosedive, putting pressure on the banking system.

“Afghanistan’s financial and bank payment systems are in disarray. The bank-run problem must be resolved quickly to improve Afghanistan’s limited production capacity and prevent the banking system from collapsing,” the UNDP report said.

“We need to find a way to make sure that if we support the banking sector, we are not supporting Taliban,” Abdallah al Dardari, head of UNDP in Afghanistan, told Reuters.

“We are in such a dire situation that we need to think of all possible options and we have to think outside the box,” he said.

“What used to be three months ago unthinkable has to become thinkable now.”

Even before the Taliban came to power, Afghanistan’s banking system was weak. However, with the Taliban coming in the scene, there is no development aid coming Afghanistan’s way. Since billions of dollars have been frozen abroad, the United Nations is huffing and puffing to get cash in the war-torn country.

The United States is working with the United Nations, UNDP and other international institutions and countries “to find ways to offer liquidity, to infuse, to see to it that the people of Afghanistan can take advantage of international support in ways that don’t flow into the coffers of the Taliban,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

The Taliban have repeatedly been warned by the UN that Afghanistan’s economy is on the brink of a collapse. The UNDP report mentioned that if the banking system fails, it would take years to rebuild it.

The UNDP report stated that with the current scenario, about 40% of Afghanistan’s deposit base will be lost by the end of the year.

“If this rate continues of non-performing loans, the banks may not have a chance to survive in the next six months. And I am being optimistic,” al Dardari said.