Asadullah Khalid’s Mafia
By Kamran Mir Hazar and Robert Maier
Published in Kabul Press (Sunday 3 May 2009)
Several sources have revealed to KabulPress that Asadullah Khalid, former governor of Kandahar is involved in widespread misuse and abuse of government funds. These sources say that despite being discharged from his position in Ghazni many years ago and recently from Kandahar, Khalid’s network is still active in Kandahar and Ghazni, maintaining old connections and activities of misappropriation, drug production, and drug smuggling.
A source in the presidential palace says that President Karzai’s selection of Khalid as Minister of Frontier and Tribal Areas has given him the opportunity to maintain his power in the southern and eastern provinces and to continue abusing that power.
Another source says that Khalid is the most crucial member of a narcotics producing and smuggling syndicate. Both sources say one of Gol Agha Shirzai ’s (present governor of Nengarhar) tasks is to collect a toll from narcotics caravans for Asadullah Khalid.
Last year a Canadian newspaper http://www.kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article1560 reported Kandahar governor Asadullah Khalid was assigning the posts of township Security Director for a bribe of $150,000. Citizens must pay a bribe or “tax” to police for security and many have been jailed for not paying the “tax.”
The Canadian newspaper says that thousand of militants are paid by the government to protect the smugglers. Some government appointees have earned millions of dollars, with Asadullah Khalid just one of them. His methods of control allegedly include torture.
These mafia include several of Hamid Karzai’s cabinet and ministers. Western sources say it is common for government appointees to take a 20% “tax” from all imports & exports including narcotics. This means that hundreds millions of dollars go into governors’ pockets, while most families in Afghanistan have income of less than one dollar a day.
Misappropriation of funds meant to help the Afghan people has been a serious problem. On one occasion, the American military based in Eastern provinces discovered that in a group of 3,300 Afghan National Army soldiers, only one in three received pay due to them. The rest of the money went directly into governors’ pockets. The Canadian newspaper added that according to British military representatives, most of the Western funds designated to pay farmers not to plant poppies, had remained with Asadullah Khalid.
Several KabulPress sources report that Asadullah Khalid has received thousands of dollars from the government, and instead of using it for security and peace keeping projects in the province, while he was governor, took the money and put in his own pocket. KabulPress’ source in the presidential palace says that it has never received accounting for funds sent to Khalid.
Another anonymous source revealed to KabulPress that Asadullah Khalid confiscated all of Ghazni’s collected tax revenue by force, in 1381, 1383, and 1384. This source says that Mustufi Feda Muhammad Azizi, a conservative government administrator did not want to lose his position, and therefore transferred this money to Khalid’s account.
Kabul Press’s source says that reports of Asadullah Khalid’s misappropriation of funds have been sent several times to the minister of finance, but no action has been taken.
Finally, Asadullah Khalid has another huge honor. He is a part of well-known criminal, Abdurrab Rasool Sayaf’s notorious band. Sayaf himself is one of the perpetrators of misuse, abuse, and usurpation of public properties in Kabul. In addition it has been said that Assadullah Khalid is Sayaf’s nephew.
The story of Asadullah Khalid’s corruption and misappropriation will not end. His network in the government is tightly interconnected through drug smuggling. It is connected to a larger network of the international drug smuggling Mafia.
Alleged members of this mafia include well-known people in Afghanistan such as Ezatullah Wasefi, Gulagha Sherzoy, Ahmad Wali Karzai, Asadullah Wafa, Aref Nawrozi and…. They would be a good place to begin an international investigation on the kingpins of Afghan drug smuggling.
After all, how do billions of dollars in narcotics get exported safely out of Afghanistan? Where do they go? How is the money distributed in Afghanistan? The poor farmers appear to get little. How could this multi-billion dollar commerce continue without the Afghan government knowing who is behind it?
Even U.S. President Obama recently stated that corruption in the Afghan government is well-known and widespread, and it is time for something to be done.
American taxpayer dollars, and the lives of its soldiers should not be given to support the corruption in an Afghan government which makes a small group of criminals millions of dollars, while hard-working, honest Afghan people struggle to feed their families.