Plainly our occupation of Afghanistan is so succesful in promoting the country’s economy that there is too much money around. As the Washington Post reports, in a two month period 180 million dollars in cash was declared as it was carried out through Kabul airport, mostly to Dubai.
What is strange is the Washington Post’s estimate of the outflow as “Over 1 billion dollars per year”. 180 milion dollars in two months is already a rate of over 2 billion dollars per year. As the Washington Post report does acknowledge, that is the tip of the iceberg. Much exported cash is undeclared or under-declared, and the regime insiders send out their cash unchecked and undeclared through the VIP lounge. The real figure is certainly much higher than 2 billion dollars.
That is not including money sent out through swiss banks or by wire transfer.
Nice to know that our soldiers are dying, and our taxes being spent, to protect such a thriving and active government.
A sensible comment from Strategist leads me to explain something. Very little of this money will be drug money. The idea that Afghanistan is awash in drugs money is a myth. The large drugs warlords – mostly Karzai government members or affiliates – export the heroin and are paid OFFSHORE.
Very little of the narcotics money ever enters Afghanistan – only the cash which is needed to pay local farmers and meet costs of conversion to heroin. I would estimate that only some 2 billion dollars per year from the heroin trade actually enters the Afghan economy, and that is widely dispersed.
If, as the American official quoted comments, they don’t really know what is going on, it is because they don’t want to know what is going on.
That is true in two senses – The USA is more than ever sheltering behind the figleaf of the puppet Karzai regime, so the extent of that regime’s looting must be kept quiet. Karzai won’t wait for the last US helicopter before leaving to spend more time with his money. But also the absence of any exchange controls is part of the neo-liberal economic policies inappropriately imposed on Afghanistan by the invading West.