Former Afghan Govt officials escaped to luxury homes abroad, WSJ report

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Former senior Afghan officials and their families spent millions purchasing expensive homes in the US and abroad in the final years of the war, The Wall Street Journal reported, saying that the former finance minister Eklil Hakimi owned 10 properties in the US.

According to a Wall Street Journal review of public documents, interviews and other records, some officials who held high-level jobs during former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s tenure, which started in 2014, now are living in mansions along California’s coast, the WSJ said in a report.

The report also mentioned former NSA Hamdullah Mohib; former Finance Minister, Eklil Ahmad Hakimi; Atta Muhammad Nur, former governor of Balkh; Khalid Payenda, last Minister of Finance of Ghani’s administration and Mustafa Mastoor, former Minister of Economy.

“Unfortunately, a culture of money looting was practiced over the past two-decades in Afghanistan. The money from customs, oil and recruitment was looted while the soldiers couldn’t receive food on the combat line,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst. 

Meanwhile, Jessica Donati, who made the report, said on Twitter that “Indeed, this is just a tiny fraction of what we heard. Due to a lack of public documents, it was difficult to verify info, especially when many officials used family members and middlemen to funnel their money out of the country.” 

The leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, Sayed Ishaq Gailani, said these former Afghan officials betrayed their nation.  

“If they are punished and the money is retaken from them, others will be advised,” he said. 

Many former government officials have yet to comment on the report. But the former Afghan Minister of Finance, Khalid Khalid Payenda, in a letter said that he was upset with the report and that the reporter ignored the details provided by him.

This comes as many humanitarian organizations have expressed concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with an estimated 90 percent of people living under the poverty line.  

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