Cash exodus threatens to ruin Afghan economy

Wealthy Afghans are carrying about £5 million – almost double the state budget – in suitcases out of the country each year, an amount likely to rise as the exit of foreign troops nears and threatening to ruin the fragile economy, a senior official said.

Deputy central bank governor Khan Afzal Hadawal said confidence in the economy had eroded to such a degree that cash was pouring out of Afghanistan in suitcases and carry-on bags, taken to safe havens in Dubai and elsewhere.

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Mr Hadawal put little faith in a the government’s recently imposed $20,000 (£12,700) limit on cash being taken out.“We definitely prefer them to invest inside the country,” he said. “Everything depends on security. If it doesn’t improve, nobody will invest their money where there is no security.”

Afghanistan could again face civil war, making foreign investors and Afghans even more reluctant to keep money in the country.