'Angry' Karzai puts Afghan corruption investigations in 'deep-freeze': Officials

London, Dec 9(ANI): Western-funded attempts to flush out high-level corruption in Afghanistan have been stalled after President Hamid Karzai objected to the arrest of a close aide, officials have said.

The bottleneck of prosecutions dates from Karzai's anger at the July arrest of Mohammed Zia Salehi, head of administration at the national security council, for allegedly soliciting a bribe.

Karzai had publicly condemned the 'Soviet style police raid' on Salehi, and had ordered an immediate review of Western involvement in anti-corruption cases.

Officials claim that since then corruption prosecutions has been in "deep freeze".

"Kidnapping cases are going forward, trafficking cases are going forward and mechanisms are working as they have in the past. On these anti-corruption cases, that's where things seem to have stalled," the Daily Telegraph quoted a Western diplomat, as saying.

The United States and Britain have formed two FBI-style units, the Major Crimes Task Force and the Sensitive Investigative Unit, to pursue the case.

However, both the countries are reluctant to provoke another unpredictable confrontation with Karzai, a Western lawyer said.

"This case has pretty much completely shut down any prospect of corruption prosecutions of high level officials in the near future," the lawyer said.

"The US and UK are focused on placating an angry Karzai and this has led to lots of rhetoric about how we should all focus on low-level corruption 'because that's what the Afghan people care about'," he added. (ANI)

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