Sacked Afghan prosecutor says he was removed for not blocking corruption probes

Kabul, Aug.29 (ANI): One of Afghanistan's most senior prosecutors has said that President Hamid Karzai fired him last week after he repeatedly refused to block corruption investigations at the highest levels of the government.

Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, the former deputy attorney general, said investigations of more than two dozen senior Afghan officials, including cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors, were being held up or blocked outright by Karzai, Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko and others.

The New York Times quoted an American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, as saying that Afghan prosecutors had prepared several cases against officials suspected of corruption, but that Mr. Karzai was "stalling and stalling and stalling."

"We propose investigations, detentions and prosecutions of high government officials, but we cannot resist him," Faqiryar said of Karzai.

"He won't sign anything. We have great, honest and professional prosecutors here, but we need support," he added.

This month, Karzai intervened to stop the prosecution of one of his closest aides, Mohammed Zia Salehi, who investigators say had been wiretapped demanding a bribe from another Afghan seeking his help in scuttling a corruption investigation.

Karzai's chief of staff has disputed Faqiryar's characterization of the president's involvement, saying that the president had instructed the prosecutors to move cases forward "appropriately."

"I strongly deny that the president has been in any way obstructing the investigations of these cases," said the chief of staff, Umer Daudzai.

Awash in American and NATO money, the Karzai government is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world.

American officials believe that the corruption drives Afghans into the arms of the Taliban. (ANI)

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