A leading prosecutor in Afghanistan says he has
been fired for refusing to block corruption investigations into senior
Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, a former deputy attorney-general, told The New York Times
newspaper that Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and his allies had
blocked or stalled investigations into more than two dozen officials.
He said the probes included cases into cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors.
"He [Karzai] won't sign anything. We have great, honest and
professional prosecutors here, but we need support," Faqiryar told the Times.
"We propose investigations, detentions and prosecutions of high government officials by we cannot resist him [Karzai]."
The account has been largely corroborated by five
western officials familiar with the cases, who said that Karzai and his
government have repeatedly thwarted prosecutions against high-ranking
officials, the paper reported.
'Stalling and stalling'
One US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that
Afghan prosecutors had prepared several cases against officials
suspected of corruption but Karzai was "stalling and stalling and
said his prosecutors had opened cases on at least 25 current or former
Afghan officials including 17 members of Karzai's cabinet, five
provincial governors and at least three ambassadors.
But Umer Daudzai, Karzai's chief of staff, disputed the allegations
and said his government was trying to stop corruption cases from
"I strongly deny that the president has been in any way obstructing the investigations of these cases," Daudzai told the Times. "On the contrary, he [Karzai] has done his bit."
Cases did not proceed
None of the cases have been able to proceed, Faqiryar said. He did
not elaborate on the cases specifically, nor did he say if Karzai
himself was involved in all of the cases or if the orders were coming
from Ishaq Aloko, the country's attorney-general, or other ministers.
Afghanistan's government, financed with money from the US and Nato, is "widely regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world", the Times reported.
Earlier this month, Karzai intervened to stop the prosecution of
Mohammed Zia Salehi, one of his closest aides, after investigators said
they had wiretapped conversations where he demanded a bribe from another
Afghan seeking his help in ending a corruption investigation.
Haroun Mir, an Afghan political analyst, told Al Jazeera that
Karzai's administration has been struggling with corruption since his
"Instead of taking measures in the fight against corruption to
improve his image, he [Karzai] has dismissed [Faqiryar]," Mir said.
Power brokers, including those who helped in Karzai's election, have virtual immunity from prosecution, he said.
"I don't think Karzai will be able to take any action against these powerful people in the country," Mir said.
Al Jazeera and agencies