Friday, 10 July 2009

karzai linked to drug traffickers


ABC News

U.S. Military Links Karzai Brother to Drugs

June 22, 2006 4:48 PM

Wali2_karzai_nrU.S. military documents, obtained by ABC News, list the brother of Afghanistan president Karzai as a "problem maker" in the pay of drug lords. Wali Karzai is described in the documents as "receives money from drug lords as bribe to facilitate their work and movement." The documents, marked secret, appear to be part of a "U.S. military targeting assessment" produced in January 2005. The documents were downloaded from a computer flash disc sold at an Afghanistan street bazaar for $200. Nine other prominent Afghanis are also listed as "problem makers" for a variety of reasons, including connections to opium drug lords. Wali Karzai strongly denied the allegations in an interview with ABC News today in Kandahar. "I was never in the drug business, I never benefited, I never facilitated, I never helped anyone with the transportation of any kind," he said. There had been previous speculation of the presidential brother's alleged connection to drugs, but the U.S. military documents are the first indication of how seriously the charges are taken by American officials. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the content of the documents although one official said, "They do appear to be genuine." The Los Angeles Times reported on similar documents discovered in a street bazaar in April, but did not report the allegations about Karzai. U.S. officials say they continue to investigate how sensitive documents ended up in the street bazaar.


Karzai pardons five Afghan heroin traffickers

By Sayed Salahuddin Sayed Salahuddin Thu Jul 9, 10:42 am ET

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned five heroin smugglers, at least one of them a relative of a man who heads Karzai's campaign for re-election next month, a source and a government spokesman said. A spokesman for Karzai Thursday confirmed the pardons, which he said came after the intercession of tribal chiefs, long a tradition in such matters in Afghanistan. A source with knowledge of the case said one of those released was a close relative of Deen Mohammad, who is running Karzai's campaign for re-election in the August 20 presidential poll. The man was jailed for more than a decade in 2007 for smuggling more than 100 kg of heroin. The source spoke to Reuters on condition that he not be identified. Deen Mohammad belongs to a powerful family from eastern Afghanistan. One of his brothers served as a deputy for Karzai before he was assassinated in 2002. Karzai's spokesman, Siyamak Herawi, said the president had ordered the release of the five men some months ago and said it had no link with the election or Deen Mohammad's job. Herawi gave no other details. "The tribal chiefs had sought their release and the president ... acquitted them," Herawi said. Herawi said more than 3,000 people have been tried or imprisoned over drugs in Afghanistan in recent years. He said the pardons were the first ordered by Karzai. Karzai has been leading Afghanistan since the removal of the Taliban after a U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and won the country's first presidential poll three years later. He has been under fire from Western leaders over poor governance, endemic corruption and for the booming drugs trade since the Taliban's fall. Afghanistan is the biggest opium poppy producer in the world, with opium also funding the Taliban-led insurgency. U.S. Secretary for State Hillary Clinton has accused Afghanistan in the past of being a "narco-state." Karzai had been seen as a weak leader in some Western capitals and at home earlier this year, but in recent weeks has managed to consolidate his position. Some of his former cabinet ministers who are among the 40 candidates standing against him in the election have warned that a second term in office for Karzai would further destabilize Afghanistan, which already faces a resurgent Taliban.

(Editing by Paul Tait and Jeremy Laurence)

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