21 January 2010
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Among the billions of dollars being spent propping up the Karzai government are some choice bits of New York City real estate. Number 1 is a 2,400 sq. ft. 3-bedroom corner apartment in the Trump World Tower (http://www.trumpworldtower.com), one of the world’s most expensive addresses. It was chosen by Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, who lives there with his wife.
The apartment features mahogany kitchen cabinets, 10-ft. ceilings, a library, huge kitchen, and “iconic views” of New York City through floor-to-ceiling windows with remote control curtains, all courtesy of the Afghan government. Amenities available to building residents include private Pilates and massage rooms, and a full-size swimming pool.
The $4.2 million purchase price does not include monthly utilities and condo fees that reach $7,000+ per month, more than the rent of many luxury Manhattan apartments. A detailed description of the apartment, with photos, appears on the realtor’s website. http://www.warburgrealty.com/property/535811
According to Kabulpress sources, eight other diplomats working in the Mission’s offices live about one hour away. The average rent for them is over $20,000 per month—extremely pricey even for Manhattan real estate. The previous Ambassador, Mr. Farhadi paid only $7,000 per month for all rent and expenses.
“Other ambassadors, like Taib Jawad (Afghan Abmassador to the U.S.) are living in luxury residences, why not me?” our source quotes Tanin as saying.
For more details on the apartment see this article from September, 2009, shortly after the deal was done:
Is Ambassador Tanin such a gifted and experienced international diplomat that he deserves such luxury coddling? According to staffers, expenses are kept very secret, especially the wheeling-dealing that enabled him purchase the apartment and his nearby $5 million office suite (that is so well stocked with expensive Scotch Whiskey and French wines.)
Dr. H.E. Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Nations
Staffers say that despite the luxurious digs, the working environment is very uncomfortable, as if they were working in a “KGB office.” Employees neither trust nor respect the ambassador, and claim he is an “opportunist” unqualified and unwilling to properly carry out the duties of a representative of 25 million suffering Afghans who face daily bombings, kidnappings, and a decrepit infrastructure.
Kabulpress will publish additional material about Ambassador Tanin and discuss his qualifications as a diplomat, and manager of an important Afghan governmental office. His official biography notes that he was a physician (graduate of Kabul University) and an executive producer for BBC-TV. Other aspects of his education, employment history, and political activities and affiliations are being compiled by Kabulpress researchers.