U.S. Stepping Up Fight on Afghan Smuggling


MICHAEL KAMBER
NY Times
Jan 2, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Janet Napolitano, the United States homeland security secretary, said Saturday that her department planned to triple the number of agents in Afghanistan to train border and customs workers — an effort that is partly aimed at curbing the smuggling of cash out of the country.

The department is sending 52 former agents, who will work on contract, to reinforce the 25 agents currently in Afghanistan.

Ms. Napolitano was visiting the country for two days to inspect border crossings and meet with government leaders, including President Hamid Karzai.

The United States Embassy estimates that $10 million a day leaves Afghanistan by plane bound for Dubai, United Arab Emirates — some of it the proceeds from illegal activities.

According to a secret cable released by WikiLeaks, Ahmed Zia Massoud, a former Afghan vice president, visited the United Arab Emirates last year carrying $52 million in cash. Mr. Massoud has denied the report.

Full article here


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