The Iranian regime is continuing to smuggle US dollars from Afghanistan amid increased international pressure and sanctions, according to government officials and local authorities in Herat Province.
Khalil Sediq, the outgoing governor of Da Afghanistan Bank, Afghanistan’s Central Bank, confirmed Wednesday (June 19) that smugglers convey tens of thousands of dollars from Afghanistan to Iran daily via air and ground routes, TOLOnews reported.
“As the sanctions have recently, put great pressure on Iran a number of mafia members try to collect dollars from the Herat market and send large quantities of them to Iran,” said Toryalai Taheri, deputy chairman of the Herat Provincial Council.
“Dollars are being smuggled to Iran in trucks and taxis or with individuals [crossing the border on foot] and any other possible channel,” he added.
The smuggling is a concern because it has caused prices in Afghanistan to rise and has had an impact on the economy, Taheri said.
Smugglers wait for US dollars that come from Kabul and then carry them to Iran, according to Sher Aqa Waziri, who operates a currency exchange business in Herat city.
Many Afghans “have [Iranian] multiple entry visas. They take $2,000 to $3,000 [161,000-242,000 AFN] and even up to $10,000 [807,000 AFN] with them to Iran,” he said.
“They visit the [money exchange] market every day and collect money from dollar exchangers and then take it to Iran because the exchange rates for dollars are pretty high in Iran,” Waziri said.
“They buy dollars from the Khurasan market and smuggle them to Iran,” affirmed Omaid, a currency exchange operator in the Khurasan Currency Exchange Market in Herat who goes by one name. “As dollars are smuggled to Iran, the quantity of them decreases here [in Herat].”
The private sector in Herat is concerned over the smuggling of American currency.
“We have shared our concerns about the issue several times with security agencies,” said Bahauddin Rahimi, president of the currency exchangers’ association in Herat.
One of the key factors increasing the dollar’s exchange rate in Afghanistan is the exodus of dollars from the country through illegal channels, he said.