shore up Afghanistan's largest bank while depositors frantically rush to withdraw their
life savings. Mahmood Karzai also happens to be the third largest shareholder in Kabul
Bank. Does this guy have "testicular fortitude" or what?
Kabul Bank is in trouble because it wasn't a bank at all. It was a pile of money made
to look like a bank. The top share holder took hundreds of millions of dollars and invested
them in real estate in Dubai. (Mahmood Karzai lived in a palatial home in Dubai purchased
by the bank's administrators.) The same shareholder spent millions bankrolling the
presidential campaigns of Hamid Karzai and Kabul Bank is suspected of helping another
financial institution to launder drug money for al Qaeda and the Taliban. When the real estate
market crashed in Dubai, so did the bank's assets. The Afghan government has forced out
the top two bank shareholders, but the bank doesn't have enough cash to cover a "run".
Enter Mahmood (if you look up in the dictionary the definition of chutzpah, you will find
my picture) Karzai. He says America could and should support Kabul Bank to the last penny.
Karzai says bailing out the bank sure would help and he has moved out of the mansion in
Dubai as a show of good faith.
The U.S. says it has no intention of propping up the bank. You can imagine Mr. Karzai's
surprise when he heard the American decision. He watched the federal government bail out
A.I.G., Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo; as well as Fannie Mae
and Freddy Mac along with General Motors and Chrysler. He figured since we were still so
addled to support and prop up his corrupt brother, we would be willing to prop up Kabul Bank.
Afghanistan is a cesspool of corruption with President Karzai and his family right in
the middle. No progress has been made in cleaning it up. Things have gotten worse. Karzai
freed a close ally who was arrested for soliciting bribes and allegedly laundering money for
the Taliban and al Qaeda. His brother, Wallid, is still running Kandahar and taking a cut of
the opium industry in the region (according to the CIA, whose payroll he has been on for
years). Karzai is driving opponents into the arms of the Taliban. People who fought the
Taliban in the past are now allies because of the corruption presided over by the Karzai clan.
Despite outright thievery and financial malfeasance, Karzai's brother had the temerity to ask
for the U.S. to bail out his bank. By any metric, Afghanistan is a disaster with Karzai at the
center of most of its problems. Are Americans dying to support this guy and his criminal clan?
He is the best recruiting tool the Taliban possesses. If only he had the testicular fortitude of
his brother and cleaned up the mess, thereby creating the possibility the nation might be
governable. NOTE: Pakistan recently arrested a number of prominent Taliban leaders
because they were talking about making peace with the Afghan government. Pakistan doesn't
want peace because it might allow India to become too influential in the region. What was
Cindy Sheehan's question again? What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org