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An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, December 16, 2012
Posted: January 1st, 2013

Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country. Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai. One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard an early morning flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million. The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some, if not most, is legitimately being sent by gold dealers seeking to have old and damaged jewelry refashioned into new pieces by skilled craftsmen in the Persian Gulf, said Afghan officials and gold dealers. But gold dealers in Kabul and current and former Kabul airport officials say there has been a surge in shipments since early summer. The talk of a growing exodus of gold from Afghanistan has been spreading among the business community here, and in recent weeks has caught the attention of Afghan and American officials. The officials are now puzzling over the origin of the gold very little is mined in Afghanistan, although larger mines are planned and why so much appears to be heading for Dubai. As a European official who tracks the Afghan economy put it, new mysteries abound. There is reason to be suspicious: the gold shipments track with the far larger problem of cash smuggling.

Note: Remember that under US supervision Afghanistan regained its status as the #1 opium and heroin producer in the world. Could this gold somehow be linked to the drug trade which evidence suggests is being monitored if not facilitated by rogue elements of the US government?

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