Afghanistan seeing gross currency outflows: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghanistan is currently experiencing gross outflows of currency, with hundreds of millions of dollars transported out of the country every year by a variety of means, the State Department has said.
"Terrorist and insurgent financing, money laundering, cash smuggling, informal value transfer systems and other activities designed to finance organised criminal activity continue to pose a serious threat to the security and development of Afghanistan," it said.
According to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report of the State Department, Afghanistan remains a major drug-trafficking and drug-producing country. The illicit narcotics trade, corruption and contract fraud are cited as major sources of laundered funds.
"Despite ongoing efforts by the international community to build the capacity of Afghan police and customs forces, Afghanistan is unable to consistently uncover and disrupt financial crimes because of limited resources, little expertise and corruption and insufficient political will," the report added.
Proposed reforms often conflicted with legal, historical and cultural factors, it said. Money laundering and terrorist financing investigations are been hampered by a lack of capacity, awareness and political commitment, particularly involving prosecutors and courts.
Permeating all levels of Afghan government and society, graft had a direct impact on the lack of financial crimes enforcement, the document pointed out. The State Department estimated Afghanistan produced approximately 90 percent of the world’s illicit opium. Poppy cultivation remained stable in 2010, but opium production decreased due to a blight that affected crop yields in high cultivation provinces, it said.
Afghanistancultivated 119,000 hectares of illicit opium poppy in 2010, which yielded a potential opium gum production of 3,200 metric tonnes, it said. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also surveys illicit poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
Afghanistancultivated 123,000 hectares of opium poppy in 2010, the same as 2009, according to UNODC, estimated that the outlawed crops in 2010 yielded only 3600 metric tonnes of raw opium, down by 48 percent from 6900 metric tonnes in 2009.
The State Department recommended that farmers and those involved in processing and trafficking drugs must have viable economic alternatives to involvement in the narcotics trade. "This will require improvements in security and market access, as well as continued efforts to increase agricultural and other alternative livelihoods throughout the country."
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