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Money In, Money Out: How Billions of US AID to Afghanistan is Leaving Kabul

Updated on June 28, 2010

Like the Vietnam War, where there was vast corruption in the government of South Vietnam, where millions of US Aid and money used to build their army, the corruption diverted millions of US dollars into the pockets of their government officials in off shore banks, it is deja vu all over, this Afghanistan. Geez, can this war be any more similar to the other US debacle, Vietnam?

Since 2007, over three BILLION US dollars in cash have been flown out of the Kabul airport in suitcases etc, into offshore foreign banks for another time. This is per Afghan records. The money is legally declared and loaded onto aircraft. Much of the money has been siphoned from various US aid projects meant to create a democracy, contracts to provide security, reconstruction. NATO has sent 14 billion in 2009.

More declared cash flies out of Kabul in a year than the Afghan government collects in taxes and customs nationwide! One US investigator simply states, 'Most of the money is our tax dollars being stolen". One can blame it on the local Hawala, which are private money transfer businesses throughout the Muslim world. So, who is sending out OUR money?

Hmmm. The Usual GD suspects: numerous officials in President Harmid Karzai's government, including the VP, Mohammed Fahim, one of the Karzai's borthers, Mahmood Karzai. In January, Karzai decalred his net worth is $12 million with assets of $21 million. How does this compute??? where are these assets? He reported an annual income of $400,000. Ironically, Mahmood is an American citizen! 

The amount of cash flight out of the Kabul airport is most likely even more US officials fear. One courier alone carried 2.8 billion out in 2008. Much of the money is going to Dubai Hawalas. From January to May , 2010, 20 million dollars has been flown out. It is usual to see aircraft loaded with boxes and crates containing nothing my money, mostly US dollars. The fear is that this is only the declared money being shipped out, undeclared money is much more across into Iran and Pakistan.

Afghan and American officials cite that 10 million dollars leaves the Kabul Airport every day which comes to 3.65 billion a year. There is no real formal banking system in Afghanistan, 90% of business is done through Hawalas. They charge only $150 to move $100,000 and are done secretly within minutes.

The cash leaving Kabul is usually on one of the eight daily flights out and almost always to Dubai, where the money is deposited into Dubai banks. Because of their tight secrecy laws, even al-Qaeda and the Taliban have assets hidden in their banks. Some of the money has been to Europe and the US.

The one time Afghan airport officials found millions of US dollars trying to be shipped out with a known VIP, and tried to halt it at customs, the airport commander. General Asif, was instructed by his superior to allow it to leave. 

Ever wonder why Afghanistan is a lost cause? Not really.


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