- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

U.S. efforts to stop money laundering in Afghanistan are failing, according to a new report by the special inspector general for U.S. reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Afghan customs officials are not using U.S.-provided machines to monitor large cash transfers at Kabul International Airport, and they allow VIPs — some of whom carry large sums of cash — to bypass the screening process, the report states.

Afghanistan has a cash-based economy, but its large currency transfers “raise the risk of money laundering and bulk cash smuggling — tools often used to finance terrorist, narcotics and other illicit operations,” Special Inspector General John F. Sopko said in a report released Tuesday.

In 2011, the Congressional Research Service found that an estimated $4.5 billion was taken out of Afghanistan, the report said.

According to an inspector general report in April, the U.S. will have spent $100 billion on Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2002 if President Obama’s budget request for fiscal 2013 is approved.