The Afghan attorney general’s office announced Nov. 23 that two cabinet ministers are being investigated on corruption charges. The ministers are suspected of embezzlement and are among 15 government officials currently under investigation. The announcement came a week after President Hamid Karzai vowed in his inaugural address to fight corruption. The identities of the ministers will remain unknown, pursuant to Afghan law, which prohibits the naming of suspects until a conviction is upheld by the Supreme Court. Despite last week’s pledge to fight corruption, Karzai has delayed signing the necessary arrest warrants needed to begin a trial of several senior officials.
Earlier this month, Karzai announced the formation of a commission to investigate corruption in the same week that Afghanistan was ranked by Transparency International as the second most corrupt country in the world (after Somalia). The Obama administration has recently increased pressure on the Afghan government amid a major policy review of the US war effort. The legitimacy and competence of the Afghan government is seen as a major factor in the deliberations by top US officials. Karzai was declared the winner of the controversial presidential election earlier this month when challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the runoff. (Jurist, Nov. 23)
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