After nine years of work, $330 Billion in treasure, and nearly 1,300 American fatalities, bankers might ultimately do to Afghanistan what the Taliban could never accomplish.
Even as it battles a resurgent and spreading Taliban, the beleaguered government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is facing a more immediate threat: a run on the country’s largest banks.
This week, droves of depositors rushed offices of Afghanistan’s Kabul Bank, pulling out their money amid concerns that bank has lost millions of dollars. BBC News broadcast images of Hummers and SUV’s racing to the bank, a troubling sign of growing mistrust for Mr. Karzai’s already heavily criticized government.
Something in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 million in deposits have been withdrawn in just a couple days, about half of all the bank’s assets. If the stampede continues for just a few more days the bank will fail.
So why is this important? Because the Kabul Bank is what the government uses to pay its teachers, police, and soldiers.