Black Hole

$900 Million Lost at Afghan Bank

Time for an Afghan TARP? Kabul Bank, the largest in Afghanistan, has lost over $900 million thanks to fraud and mismanagement. That's over three times the amount previously estimated, raising concerns that the bank could collapse and cause financial panic across the war-torn country. It would lead to a run on Afghanistan's solvent banks and shake the confidence of Western investors, whose money is disappearing into the pockets of an elite group of politically connected Afghans. "The troubles at Kabul Bank stand as a parable for the sometimes malign effect that the influx of billions of foreign dollars has had on this impoverished country since 2001," Dexter Filkins writes in his first story for The New Yorker. "While the Western money spent has done a great deal to create a modern economy, much of it has been captured by a tiny minority of well-connected Afghan businessmen and politicians, and much of it illegitimately."