Machines that count huge stacks of cash and are used to identify money laundering are not being used when “very important persons” and “very very important persons” leave Afghanistan via Kabul International Airport (KBL), according to a new Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report.

In 2011 alone, an estimated $4.5 billion was spirited out of Afghanistan to places like Dubai, where many of the ruling Afghan elite have bank accounts and there is a significant amount of bank secrecy.

This massive outflow of cash, much of it provided by the U.S. and other nations, fuels concerns there is quite a bit of money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, “tools often used to finance terrorist, narcotics, and other illicit operations,” SIGAR reports. The outflow also means much of the money that should be spent developing post-war Afghanistan, including its security forces, justice system, and infrastructure is instead being…

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