The surge in gold trafficking began this past summer, the New York Times reported. Passengers carry bags full of gold on commercial flights leaving Kabul, most of them to Dubai.
One passenger reportedly boarded a morning flight in mid-October with 37 kilograms of gold bars. The load was worth more than $1.5 million. Over the last two weeks of October, more than 250 kg of gold – worth $14 million – left the country through the airport.
The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some of it, if not most, is being sent by gold dealers seeking to have jewelry refashioned by craftsmen in the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the region, an Afghan official said.