In the crush of people in Kabul’s shahzada money market, conspiracy theories are a currency as hard as the bundles of cash in the hands of bearded traders trying to divine their future.
And the theory going around – amid the din of shouted exchange rates — is that Afghanistan’s rich are preparing again to shift their money and lives from the country over fears of chaos or civil conflict after foreign troops leave.
“The money will all go out of Afghanistan. It is always like that. As soon as the foreign soldiers leave all the problems come back,” says money changer Hajji Asadullah, gripping bundles of United States dollar bills, Gulf currencies and tattered local Afghani notes, all wrapped tightly in rubber bands.
Three years from the end of Nato combat missions and a total transfer to local security, Afghan officials are thinking hard about how to stop the flight of hard currency like dollars, euros or scrip from Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates that usually happens when nervousness overtakes their countrymen.