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Afghanistan's New Millionaires

Afghanistan's New Millionaires
Photographer: Lorenzo Tugnoli for Bloomberg Businessweek

“Do you want to listen to Taliban cassette?” Matiullah Matie asks as he steers his white Toyota Corolla along a narrow road surrounded by cornfields and mud huts. He keeps the tapes in the car for long drives, Matie explains, just in case he picks up a hitchhiker who looks like a Talib. “They think I am such a pious mujahid man,” the round, bearded businessman laughs. “They don’t know I am screwing them all.”

We are driving to the Nawa district, just 30 minutes outside Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in the southwest corner of Afghanistan. Matie is going to show us how he first became a millionaire.