Afghan central bank branch staff raid their own bank and flee
A US Chinook helicopter is seen flying over the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, at Spin Boldak, in 2011.Reuters

Bank workers in southern Afghanistan have reportedly escaped with about 81m Afghanis (£909,238, €1.2m, $1.4m) after robbing their own branch.

Security cameras at the branch of Afghanistan's central bank in Kandahar showed its vault had been cleaned out, but investigators were waiting to gain access before confirming the total missing, according to regional director Fazel Ahmad Azimi.

The group had removed CCTV recordings before fleeing to Pakistan, Azimi said, but investigators were hopeful that footage could be recovered from the cameras' memory chips.

The Kandahar raid is thought to have been carried out by a senior official at the bank, an employee of nine years, with the help of his son and brother-in-law who were also on the rolls, according to Azimi.

The robbery at the branch in Spin Boldak, near the border with Pakistan, was discovered on 19 February, according to Reuters.

Last year, an international financial watchdog threatened to place Afghanistan on a blacklist and has since warned that Kabul needs to do more to enforce laws to regulate its banking sector.

Weak regulation dents confidence in Afghanistan's fragile banking system, which is still recovering from a 2010 scandal over a bank that failed, triggering a financial crisis.