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Counterfeit Dollars Flooding Afghanistan

(file photo)

(file photo)

KABUL -- Money-exchange dealers in Kabul say they are concerned by the large amounts of counterfeit foreign money that they say is entering Afghanistan from neighboring countries, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Aminullah Owijdan, head of the Kabul-based Money Exchange Dealers Association, told RFE/RL that there has been a huge influx of fake U.S. dollars on Kabul's streets in recent weeks.

"We suspect that countries like Iran and Pakistan are attempting to discredit [and disrupt] Afghanistan's money markets," he said. "Therefore, we are urging the government and security forces to do more in the border areas to prevent [the fake money's] entry into the country."

Dealers have asked locals to report to the police if they find counterfeit banknotes, which are reportedly softer in texture than the originals.

Saif al-Din, professor of economics at Kabul University, told RFE/RL that the entrance of fake currencies into Afghanistan has damaged the economy and disrupted everyday business transactions.

"If the government and security forces are serious about finally tackling this problem, it has to put certain control mechanisms in place to detect forged money and keep it from entering Afghanistan in the first place," he said.

The Kabul Bank has thus far not commented publicly on the issue.