(AFP) – Oct 4, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — A brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, may be involved in the illegal drug trade, which is prompting serious concern among top US officials, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday.
Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the US ambassador to Afghanistan, the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief and their British counterparts, discussed the allegations against Ahmed Wali Karzai with Hamid Karzai as far back as 2006.
But the Afghan president has so far resisted calls to move his brother out of the country, arguing he had not seen any conclusive evidence against Ahmed, according to the report.
"We thought the concern expressed to Karzai might be enough to get him out of there," the paper quotes one US official as saying. But "we don't have the kind of hard, direct evidence that you could take to get a criminal indictment. That allows Karzai to say, Where's your proof?'"
But indirect evidence against Ahmed Wali Karzai continues to mount, according to the report.
When Afghan security forces found an enormous cache of heroin hidden in a tractor-trailer outside Kandahar in 2004, the local Afghan commander Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs, The Times said.
Two years later, American and Afghan counternarcotics forces stopped another truck near Kabul and discovered more than 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of heroin in it.
After that seizure, the report said, US investigators discovered links between the shipment and a bodyguard believed to be an intermediary for Ahmed Wali Karzai.
Both President Karzai and Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is now head of the Kandahar Provincial Council, dismiss the allegations as politically motivated attacks by longtime enemies, The Times said.
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