U.S. Planes Rain Money on South Afghan Areas

April 23, 2002 - 0:0
CHAMAN, Pakistan -- U.S. aircraft dropped Afghan currency over parts of southern Afghanistan, where leaflets have circulated urging the Taleban to regroup and wage holy war against the United States and its allies, a witness said on Monday.

The witness said high-flying C-130 transport aircraft, used frequently in the area, dropped the 10,000-afghani bills late on Saturday over areas near the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak and the nearby Pakistani town of Chaman.

"I found eight bills of 10,000 afghani each," Malik Zahir Khan, a resident of Spin Boldak told Reuters. Khan said another person had found a complete bundle of 800,000 afghani.

The afghani fluctuates wildly, but is currently quoted at around 40,000 to the dollar.

In February, U.S. aircraft dropped envelopes adorned with an image of President George W. Bush and containing two $100 bills over the same area.

Southern Afghanistan was the hard-line Taleban's last bastion. The movement was ousted late last year under intense U.S. bombing and advances by opposition groups after Washington accused it of sheltering Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the September 11 attacks on the United States.

In the past, U.S. aircraft also dropped leaflets over the same area depicting supreme Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar as a dog held on a leash by Bin Laden and warned people not to shelter the fugitives.

But in recent weeks, leaflets have appeared urging the Taleban to reorganize and carry out suicide bombings against international forces in war-torn Afghanistan.