Karzai Moves to Curb Afghan Anti-Corruption Agencies

Afghan president accuses agencies of abusing suspects
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2010 12:26 PM CDT
Karzai Moves to Curb Afghan Anti-Corruption Agencies
Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaks with U.S. senator John Kerry, not in the photo, during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2010.   (AP Photo//Yuri Cortez, Pool)

Hamid Karzai is looking to curb the powers of two American-supported anti-corruption agencies operating in Afghanistan with a presidential decree, the New York Times reports. The Afghan president claimed that abuses by the Major Crimes Task Force and the Sensitive Investigations Unit—in particular, the arrest of a close adviser to Karzai last month—prove the need for government oversight. Many in the US, however, think Karzai is punishing the agencies for doing their jobs too well.

“The MCTF and the SIU are two of the best, most effective organizations” Afghanistan has, a Western official said. “They should be heaping praise on them." The two agencies have recently taken a hard line against corrupt officials, and have at least 52 people in custody for taking bribes. Karzai's spokesman said that the decree would only regulate their methods, not hinder their work: “There will be no political interference, but we don’t want anyone taken out of their homes with chains and shackles."
(More Afghanistan stories.)

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