Thursday, July 08, 2010
Der Spiegel :
"Billions of dollars are being secreted out of Kabul to help well-connected Afghans buy luxury villas in Dubai. Amid concerns that the money could be the result of corruption, American politicians have temporarily cut off [$3.9-billion in] aid to the Afghan government."
Proud new owners of villas in Dubai:
"a brother and a cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, one of Karzai's former vice presidents and the brother one of the country's two current vice presidents."
Properties are registered under the names of the individuals issuing the loans, such as Sherkhan Farnood, the founder and chairman of Kabul Bank, Afghanistan's largest private bank.
Farnood : "What I'm doing is not proper, not exactly what I should do. But this is Afghanistan."
Kabul Bank's executives helped finance President Hamid Karzai's reelection campaign last year, and the bank is partly owned by Mahmoud Karzai, the Afghan president's older brother, and by Haseen Fahim, the brother of Karzai's vice presidential running mate.
Karzai's brother has "an informal home-loan agreement with Kabul Bank and pays $7,000 a month in interest".
Khalilullah Fruzi, chief executive of the bank, says "Kabul Bank is so flush that it is building a $30 million headquarters, a cluster of shimmering towers of bulletproof glass."
The bank is also spending millions to hire gunmen from a company called Khurasan Security Services, which, according to registration documents, used to be controlled by Fruzi and is now run by his brother.
Meanwhile, a new survey finds that corruption in Afghanistan has doubled since 2007, with one in seven Afghans paying nearly $1 billion in bribes last year, and US contractors are leaving the country without paying Afghan construction companies hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars owed, but McCain says winning Kandahar is the key to winning the war.
And so it goes....
Canada's aid in Afghanistan will amount to $1.9B over the ten-year period ending in 2011, making Canada one of Afghanistan's largest donors. In the 2008/2009 fiscal year, Canada disbursed approximately $224M.
And I'll bet you never expected to be part owner of a villa in Dubai.