US training Afghans how to disrupt cash smuggling

AP News
Posted: Oct 19, 2010 8:47 AM
US training Afghans how to disrupt cash smuggling

U.S. officials have begun training Afghans on how to disrupt the flow of billions of dollars in cash being smuggled out of their country _ sometimes in suitcases through the Kabul airport.

In three weeklong courses, U.S. law enforcement agents will teach Afghan border police, customs officials and other law enforcement officers on how to investigate and interdict cash that could be fueling illegal activities or funding terrorist and other criminal networks, U.S. officials said in a statement.

More than $4 billion in cash has been flown out of the nation in the past three and a half years, according to Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal. He said most of it was from huge contracts that the international community had given to large Afghan and foreign companies. It is legal to export cash from the country, but the government has expressed concern about the volume and origin of the money.

Previous reports have suggested that many cash couriers are members of or acting on behalf of the Afghan government, a charge that the administration dismisses.

The program is being run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.