Sunday, June 27th, 2010
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Greg Miller, Ernesto LondoÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â±o, The Washington Post
June 27, 2010
Prosecutors ordered to cross names off case files, disregard evidence
Top officials in President Hamid Karzai’s government have repeatedly derailed corruption investigations of politically connected Afghans, according to U.S. officials who have provided Afghanistan’s authorities with wiretapping technology and other assistance in efforts to crack down on endemic graft.
In recent months, the U.S. officials said, Afghan prosecutors and investigators have been ordered to cross names off case files, prevent senior officials from being placed under arrest and disregard evidence against executives of a major financial firm suspected of helping the nation’s elite move millions of dollars overseas.
As a result, U.S. advisers sent to Kabul by the Justice Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have come to see Afghanistan’s corruption problem in increasingly stark terms.
“Above a certain level, people are being very well protected,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the investigations.
Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar denied investigations had been derailed. “There is no case, no instance, in which the palace or anyone from the palace has interfered with a case,” he said.