Chapter 14: Elite capture of Kabul Bank
Afghanistan is entering the most critical period since the overthrow of Taliban back in 2001. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has announced withdrawal of international forces by 2014, and a sharp reduction is expected in funding for development programmes and support for the Government of Afghanistan (GOA). This has led to increasing fear of renewed internal fighting, and major uncertainty if there will be an orderly shift of presidential power as President Karzaiís term should end in April 2014 (International Crisis Group, 2012). There are increasing concerns over the high level of corruption and the large amounts of cash being brought abroad as the Afghan elite prepare to secure their financial future. The overall objective of combating terror, building peace and winning Afghan ëhearts and mindsí has, since 2001, frequently come to overshadow normal development and governance priorities. Key international actors have based their strategy on the presumed loyalty of a small Afghan military and political elite, seeing that as instrumental in securing Afghan support to the international mission. These Afghans have been able to make use of their position to secure generous benefits from the international assistance, and from the opportunities emerging from an economic liberalisation policy that formed part of the peace-building package. The sale of state property, tendering of large security and engineering contracts and a process to tender out major mineral and energy resources left those with political and military connections ideally placed to maximize personal and family income.
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