In Afghan Cash Outflow, US Aid Not Included

Members of Afghan Border Police inspects illegal drugs and weapons seized in an ambush. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that some of the money flown out Afghanistan possibly came from drug trafficking. Photo by: Laura K. Smith / ISAF / CC BY ISAFCC BY

The billions of dollars in cash flown out of Afghanistan does not include U.S. aid money, Richard Holbrooke says.

Reports alleged that an estimated USD3.65 billion annually, or a tenth of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, is being flown out of the nation through commercial flights in Kabul bound for Dubai.

“We’re not missing money,” the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said July 28 at a hearing of the House appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations. He, however, acknowledged that some of the money flown out of the war-torn nation possibly came from illegal activities such as drug trafficking.

Holbrooke said that the U.S. government is working to ensure that American aid for Afghanistan is spent appropriately.

The U.S. is improving the oversight and accountability, staffing, contracting, and direct assistance of its aid programs in Afghanistan, USAID chief Rajiv Shah said at the same hearing.

“Central to all of our efforts is an emphasis on accountability, including more rigorous monitoring and evaluation. This is an area on which I am keenly focused as Administrator, and which represents a key part of our Agency’s reform agenda, and our team’s approach in Afghanistan,” Shah said.

Corruption in the Asian country is helping Taliban recruit rebels, Holbrooke said.

“If you read Taliban propaganda, which we study very carefully, they never mention the issue of women, girls in school, because that was their most losing issue,” Holbrooke was quoted by The New York Times. “What they talk about is corruption, which is why we’re here. That’s their No. 1 recruiting tool.”

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.