Your tax dollars, hard at work, heading for the airport, getting out of town.
THE “blizzard of banknotes” leaving Kabul airport is worse than originally feared, The Scotsman has learned, with at least $4.2 billion (around £2.8 billion) exported in cash over the last three-and-a-half years.
Congressmen in the United States voted to suspend $4bn in aid to the Afghan government last week, after media reports showed $3bn in cash has been flown out of the country since 2007.
US and British fraud investigators fear that most of the money leaving Kabul has been siphoned-off from international aid contracts, or made from the country’s rapidly expanding opium trade.
Documents seen by The Scotsman show that the Afghan Ministry of Finance puts the real figure at $4.2bn – at least $1.2 billion higher than previously feared.
“Our records show that $4.2bn has been transferred in cash through Kabul International Airport alone during the last three-and-a-half years,” Afghanistan’s finance minister, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, wrote in a letter to US Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
Ms Lowey, chairwoman of the aid appropriations sub-committee in Congress, has vowed not to send another dime to Afghanistan until she was confident “that US taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords and terrorists”.
Dr Zakhilwal’s letter acknowledges allegations that Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s government is “assisting or partaking in this fraud” but the minister hits back by pointing out that most of the money America spends in Afghanistan circumvents the Afghan government.
. . .
The sheer volume of cash couriered out of the country’s main airport is huge relative to Afghanistan’s gross domestic product which was just $13.5bn last year, and it easily dwarfs the amount of tax revenue collected by the government.
The figure doesn’t include cash exported from any of Afghanistan’s other international airports, which include Kandahar International, Mazar-e Sharif, in northern Afghanistan, and the main US base at Bagram, north of Kabul.
. . .
Afghanistan relies on a cash economy and there is no limit to how much money can be exported, as long as it is declared to customs. Official records show most of the money that was declared leaving Kabul since 2007 formed part of the traditional Islamic hawala system, in transfers to Dubai. The often informal nature of the hawala contracts, based on trust, honour and lender’s reputation, make the transactions almost impossible for financial investigators to track.
4.2 billion dollars have left Kabul airport: report
4.2 billion dollar worth ‘blizzard of banknotes’ have flown out of Kabul since 2007
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Afghan leader: Foreign contracts fuel corruption
Finance Minister Calls for Probe of Afghan Money Network
US freezes $4b of aid to Afghans
US cuts $5.6b Afghan aid amid graft charges
Afghanistan: US lawmakers block $4 bln in aid
Over $4 bn in cash flies out of Kabul
It looks like Karzai and his cronies have put together quite the U.S. financed retirement fund.
/no wonder it seems that Karzai doesn’t really care which side wins in Afghanistan, as long as he can make it to the airport to don his golden parachute
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Afghan Government, Afghan Government Officials, Afghan Ministry Of Finance, Afghanistan, Aid Appropriations Sub-Committee, Bagram, Cash, Congress, Congressmen, Corrupt, Corruption, Customs, Drug Lords, Dubai, Finance Minister, Financial Investigators, Fraud, Fraud Investigators, GDP, Great Britain, Gross Domestic Product, Hamid Karzai, Hawala, Hawala System, International Aid Contracts, Islamic Hawala System, Kabul, Kabul International Airport, Kandahar, Kandahar International, Mazar-E Sharif, Nita Lowey, Omar Zakhilwal, Opium Trade, Tax Revenue, Taxpayer Money, Terrorists, United States | Leave a comment »