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Officials puzzle over millions of dollars leaving Afghanistan by plane for Dubai


By Andrew Higgins
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, February 25, 2010; A10

KABUL -- A blizzard of bank notes is flying out of Afghanistan -- often in full view of customs officers at the Kabul airport -- as part of a cash exodus that is confounding U.S. officials and raising concerns about the money's origin.

The cash, estimated to total well over $1 billion a year, flows mostly to the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, where many wealthy Afghans now park their families and funds, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. So long as departing cash is declared at the airport here, its transfer is legal.

But at a time when the United States and its allies are spending billions of dollars to prop up the fragile government of President Hamid Karzai, the volume of the outflow has stirred concerns that funds have been diverted from aid. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, for its part, is trying to figure out whether some of the money comes from Afghanistan's thriving opium trade. And officials in neighboring Pakistan think that at least some of the cash leaving Kabul has been smuggled overland from Pakistan.

"All this money magically appears from nowhere," said a U.S. official who monitors Afghanistan's growing role as a hub for cash transfers to Dubai, which has six flights a day to and from Kabul.

Meanwhile, the United States is stepping up efforts to stop money flow in the other direction -- into Afghanistan and Pakistan in support of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Senior Treasury Department officials visited Kabul this month to discuss the cash flows and other issues relating to this country's infant, often chaotic financial sector.

Tracking Afghan exchanges has long been made difficult by the widespread use of traditional money-moving outfits, known as "hawalas," which keep few records. The Afghan central bank, supported by U.S. Treasury advisers, is trying to get a grip on them by licensing their operations.


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Sounds like money laundering to me..

Same happens in Israel and every other American propped up gov't around the world. We, the tax payers, send them money and then they give it back to the pockets of politicians thru lobbyist. It's a big "Mafioso" of gangs led by men, who instead of wearing slicked backed hair and championing names like; Ferro, Vizzini, Greco or Leggio, they have names like: Paulson, Bernanke, Cohen and Shenker..
It's a big Con game but god forbid you call it for was it is. Your just not allowed to say these things or you're reamed for anti-Semitic behavior..

Mathew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

northstar's picture

Officials should puzzle over the money sent to Iraq!

I think this article is a diversion to draw peoples attention away from the mysterious and bizarre pile of money sent to Iraq.

Real eyes realize real lies

We want our country back

Every year is a year for Ron Paul!

reedr3v's picture



Sounds like

the local laundromat..Or people bailing.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Sounds like the Fed

That 2

Is a possibility..Or a combination there of.