Wednesday, July 7, 2010
$4.2 billion in mysterious cash flown out of Kabul since 2007
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.