Home > English > Kabul Press Reveals > River of booze flows through Afghan UN mission in NYC

River of booze flows through Afghan UN mission in NYC

Representatives of “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” which forbids alcohol, drink up, while taxpayers pick-up the tab
Robert Maier
Monday 18 January 2010

Reading time: (Number of words: )


KabulPress recently received a pile of receipts from “The Diplomatic Duty Free Shops” in Manhattan, which supplies all manner of tax-free booze, caviar, cigars, and exotic chocolates to the world’s diplomatic elite. The receipts document thousands of dollars of purchases of Johnny Walker Scotch whiskey, Absolut Vodka, and a variety of French and Italian wines, and champagnes bought by the Afghan U.N. mission in 2007 and 2009. The receipts read: “bill to and ship to “Mission of Afghanistan 360 Lexington Ave. attn: Z. Tanin.”

Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the U.N.— appointed by Hamid Karzai

Dr. H.E. Zahir Tanin, whose title on the mission’s website is, “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations” has held that position since December 19, 2006. He heads a mission staff of seven from a 27th floor suite, just around the corner from U.N. Headquarters.

The receipts show that more than $2,200 in booze was billed to, paid for, and shipped to the Afghan mission during a three-week period in December, 2007. Was the Islamic Republic was gearing up for a Christmas Party?

Another order, filled in September, 2009, for several gallons of Johnny Walker and Absolut Vodka totaled $303.00, shows that the stream of booze might not be just a holiday splurge for diplomat jet-setters.

Not that alcohol is inherently evil—unless you’re a Muslim, where drinking and serving alcohol is strictly forbidden and un-Islamic. In Kabul, an Afghan citizen could be fined, imprisoned, or given 60 lashes with a whip, all in accordance with Sharia law, for possessing a single bottle of Johnny Walker. Dozens were shipped to the Afghan Mission in December 2007 alone.

It appears that Afghan U.N. diplomats have a different set of rules. And if government officials are willing to wink and nod about one set of rules, then other of their activities should be suspect too. Could it be that this level of hypocrisy in the privileged leadership is at the root of the Taliban’s appeal to the average Afghan?

Spending thousands of dollars on hard liquor is a special insult to Afghan children who spend their days carrying jugs of water a mile uphill to homes without plumbing or electricity, in neighborhoods without schools or medical care, due to the lack of government funding. It is a special insult to those journalists languishing in Afghan jails as punishment for articles critical of the government deemed “insults to Islam.”

With the heavy U.S. and European cash subsidy of the Afghan diplomatic corps, how do struggling taxpayers from those countries—many now unemployed—feel about footing the bill for thousands of dollars of booze for exclusive, posh parties in classy Manhattan office towers?

These receipts are evidence of just one more aspect of the Afghan corruption the Karzai administration and its international supporters must consider.

KabulPress assures there will be more.


Kabulpress English pages editor, writer, video producer and educator.

View online :

Kabul Press: News, Discussion and Criticism

آنتولوژی شعر شاعران جهان برای هزاره
Poems for the Hazara

The Anthology of 125 Internationally Recognized Poets From 68 Countries Dedicated to the Hazara

Order Now

Forum posts

  • well in a country that a guy like ( Gul Agha Sherzoi and president him self ) is contractor of pure ( opium ) and world number one ( heroine ) is legally in business with CIA and other drugs trader , and they trafficking this drug via American military plan to Germany and then to united stat . i thinks expanses of a afghan diplomat who swimming in sea of drugs by couple of us dollar for whiskey & gift items in new york is not even mentionable to people of Afghanistan . people of Afghanistan greatly and bravely fighting for there freedom , and world respect them .

  • When in Rome do as the Romans. This maxim is never more true than in diplomacy. One of an ambassador’s tasks is to entertain, create a setting where the home government’s message can be presented in a cordial stting. In New York City that means having liquor available for one’s guests. There is no way around it. Few will attend your affairs if your hospitality stints on what guests expect. Many hosts, even if they enjoy alcohol, refrain from drinking it when entertaining in order to keep the party going. The purchase of liquorss by an ambassador does not have to mean that he drinks, it indicates that he is a gracious host which is part of his job. Many would find it more upsetting and question the ambassador’s competence if there were no such purchases and receipts.

Kamran Mir Hazar Youtube Channel
Human Rights, Native People, Stateless Nations, Literature, Book Review, History, Philosophy, Paradigm, and Well-being



So-Called Afghanistan Comprises Diverse Stateless Nations, Including the Hazara, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmen, Pashtun/Afghan, and Nuristani With No Majority or National Identity.

Search Kabul Press