Main Kabul money market robbed

BBC, January 13, 2000

Robbers have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the main money market in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The money changers have accused guards supplied by the Taleban rulers of carrying out the raid.

It's the second time in a year that the thieves have targetted the money changers.

Last time, the Taleban authorities convicted several guards and carried out amputations on those found guilty.

The BBC Kabul correspondent says the money market is central to Kabul's business life: she says money changers are the only source of foreign currency because banks and cheques are virtually unknown in Kabul.

Kabul's money market burgled

AFP, January 13, 2000

KABUL, Jan 13 (AFP) - Burglars broke into Afghanistan's main money market in the capital Kabul and stole more than 200,000 dollars, money changers said Thursday.

Shopkeepers blamed soldiers from the ruling Taliban militia, who had been posted inside the market as guards overnight.

The burglars smashed padlocks and broke into at least 10 shops late Wednesday and helped themselves to piles of US dollars, Pakistani rupees and the local currency, Afghanis, the money changers said.

The market was locked until lunchtime Thursday when the Taliban authorities assigned new guards to the market.

"One shopkeeper, who was the main dealer inside the market, says he has lost up 150,000 dollars," one shopkeeper said.

Taliban police authorities were not available for comment.

With its branches in other major Afghan cities, the Kabul money market has a stronger effect on the Afghan ailing economy than the Afghan Central Bank, which offers a lower official currency rate.

The market offers every currency deal and cashes cheques from foreign aid groups in the capital and cheques Afghan refugees overseas send back to their families at home.

Some shops can make cash transfers from almost every European country, the United States, Pakistan and other countries of the region. There are no operating banks in Afghanistan.

The market was last looted six years ago, when it was set on fire in January 1994 by supporters of Afghani ex-president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was dislodged from the capital by the Taliban two years later.

The Taliban, the religious militia which now control most of the country, have prided themselves on restoring security in the areas they hold.

Spate of armed thefts worries Kabul residents

h t t p : / / w w w . r a w a . o r g