As much as $10 million a day in cash is being smuggled through the Kabul airport, according to the U.S. Special Inspector General‘s report on Afghan reconstruction.Time’s Mark Benjamin reports that most of that cash is simply carried out in suitcases.
President Hamid Karzai is barring U.S. officials from the Afghan central bank, so monitoring where the money goes has proven difficult. Karzai has also refused to allow the U.S. to examine the bags of outgoing officials through the Kabul airport, in fact banning the U.S. entirely from the VIP section of the terminal.
All that money adds up.
The Government Accountability Office released its Afghanistan report Wednesday, saying spending tripled in 2010 and oversight is often completely absent.
The brief background paragraph to the 47 page document says it all.
Decades of conflict have left Afghanistan a poor nation with high illiteracy, weak government institutions, and a high level of corruption. According to Transparency International’s index of perceived corruption, Afghanistan is tied with Burma as the world’s second most corrupt nation. The United States has allocated $56 billion for fiscal years 2002 to 2010 to reconstruct Afghanistan, as shown in table 1. The U.S. allocated nearly half these funds — about $27 billion — in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 alone. For Fiscal year 2011, DOD has allocated more than $12.6 billion in additional funds for Afghan reconstruction.
The report goes on to say that risk assessments were not required in awards to at least two Afghan government agencies. Furthermore the controls that were established to track the money once it was delivered were “not always” enforced.
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