Afghans Start to Take the Money and Run

Locals use planes and traditional money handlers to export wealth
'Hawaladars' charge 2 percent to transfer money abroad Photograph by Bryan Denton/Corbis

Afghan central bank inspector Fahim Satari stands in Kabul International Airport in front of a local businessman headed for Dubai, counting by hand the stack of $100 bills police found the passenger carrying to the gate. Satari declares the cash to be under the $20,000 per passenger limit imposed to stem the flood of money leaving through the terminal. In the year to March, $4.6 billion fled via the airport, a sum equal to almost one-quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. The year before, $2.3 billion in cash left via the airport.

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