The Taliban says it found over $6 million in cash and at least 15 gold bars after it raided the home of a longtime Afghan national politician, Amrullah Saleh.
Saleh had been vice president since February 2020 until the collapse of the Afghan government when the Taliban overran Kabul in August. As soon as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, reportedly with millions in cash, VP Saleh declared himself acting president of the country, which happened on Aug.17. The home where the cash was reportedly found was in the Panjshir Valley – recently taken by the Taliban. The Taliban released video of militants rummaging through the treasure that had been left behind…
This is the money and gold found inside @AmrullahSaleh2‘s home. The vice president of one of the poorest countries around the world (where the economy entirely depends on aid) left $6,5 million behind like it’s loose change. pic.twitter.com/er5vJOrDSs
— Sangar | سنګر پیکار (@paykhar) September 13, 2021
Saleh has since the Taliban takeover been a prime opposition figure in the country fighting against the hardline Islamists’ rule – efforts which have been centered in recent weeks on contested Panjshir province, where it’s said the country’s last resistance leaders remain.
Saleh’s own brother was reportedly killed days ago at a Taliban checkpoint. The brother, “Rohullah Azizi was traveling with his driver on Thursday when Taliban fighters stopped them at a checkpoint in Khanez village in the province of Panjshir, the relatives said,” according to Germany’s Deutsche Welle. “As we hear at the moment [the] Taliban shot him and his driver at the checkpoint,” relatives of the family were cited as saying.
Saleh had a long history with the US-backed national government, from 2018 to 2019 serving as interior minister, and from 2004 to 2010 being the head of the National Directorate of Security. It’s during his long career that he’s believed to have amassed his fortune, suggesting corruption.
— Talib Times (@talib_times) September 13, 2021
However, some observers have questioned the video as possibly fake. In releasing it, the Taliban is hoping to publicize allegations of just how deep corruption went among former US-backed Afghan politicians.
It’s being generally acknowledged as the Taliban’s biggest haul in terms of cash recovered from a single politician’s house. There’s long been reports and confirmation out of the Pentagon and US officials who’ve admitted to flying entire crates and bricks of cash into the country over the past couple decades of war.
Often this was with the aim of “paying off” tribal warlords and even local politicians in order to ensure some degree of stability and peace for the US occupation. Often large quantities of cash would simply disappear. Likely the Taliban will continue to release videos of uncovering piles of cash, jewelry, and gold at former Afghan officials’ residence, in order to underscore the self-serving nature of the prior corrupt US propped-up government.