Our Afghan ‘friends’ Part II: Conniving thieves
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Once again thumbing its nose at America, the corrupt Karzai regime dropped the most serious charges in a case related to 2010's fraud-driven collapse of Afghanistan's biggest private bank — and thereby flouted an international aid agreement requiring it to recover more than $800 million owed by two top former bank executives.
A special Afghan court did convict Kabul Bank's ex-chairman and ex-chief executive of fraud and sentence them to five-year prison terms. But by dropping — without explanation — their money-laundering and embezzlement charges, it avoided triggering Afghanistan's Anti-Money Laundering Law. And that violates the Karzai government's 2012 pledge to international donors to “enforce asset recovery and accountability for those responsible for the Kabul Bank crisis,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Not even charged , despite receiving fraudulent loans, were two prominent Kabul Bank former shareholders — who happen to be brothers of President Hamid Karzai and his vice president.
Worse, Obama administration action is unlikely. Analysts say America and its allies don't want to risk a Karzai-regime collapse before 2014's troop withdrawal. And U.S. officials say “pushing too hard publicly in a country where pride is emphasized would do more harm than good,” as The Journal puts it.
The reliably corrupt Karzai government again has proven how unreliable an “ally” it is — and why U.S. aid and troops should have been withdrawn from Afghanistan long ago.
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