US says Karzai interfering in corruption cases
Recent wiretaps provided by U.S. officials to Afghan authorities are now revealing internal attempts by high-ranking figures to snuff out specific corruption cases.
Many of the cases being suppressed include prosecutors, banking executives and senior officials. The cover-up aims to protect numerous money trails leading out of the country and into seriously questionable destinations. One destination in particular, the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, happens to be the home of Karzai's older brother.
Greg Miller and Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post reports:
As a result, U.S. advisers sent to Kabul by the Justice Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have come to see Afghanistan's corruption problem in increasingly stark terms. Above a certain level, people are being very well protected," said a senior U.S. official involved in the investigations.
While the Afghan government, one of the most corrupt in the world, has made several attempts at reigning in the those responsible for hindering corruption cases, most have failed miserably.
Some suggest Karzai in fact, is running a game of smoke and mirrors in an effort to garner the favor or various foreign nations.
Over the past year, U.S. officials said, Afghan investigators have assembled evidence against three Karzai-appointed provincial governors accused of embezzlement or bribery. All three cases have been blocked. The interference has persisted, officials said, despite Karzai's pledge in November during his second inaugural address to make fighting corruption a focus of his new term. The extent of the interference has become evident, officials said, in large part because of improvements in Afghan authorities' ability to pursue corruption cases.
Josh Jamison lives in Boston, Massachusetts and writes for The Raw Deal