Afghanistan drops charges against Karzai aide

The Afghan government has dropped corruption charges against a top aide to President Hamid Karzai who was indicted by a US-backed task force for taking a bribe, an official said on Tuesday.

Updated: Nov 09, 2010, 18:38 PM IST

Kabul: The Afghan government has dropped
corruption charges against a top aide to President Hamid
Karzai who was indicted by a US-backed task force for taking a
bribe, an official said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Zia Salehi, a senior official in Karzai`s
National Security Council, was arrested by the Major Crimes
Task Force, a US-funded anti-graft body, in July after he was
caught on a wiretap soliciting a bribe.

In return, Salehi reportedly held up an investigation
into a company suspected of moving money for Afghan leaders,
drug traffickers and insurgents.

At the time, Karzai ordered Salehi to be released, saying
that his arrest was unconstitutional and violated human
rights.

Rahmatullah Nazari, Afghanistan`s deputy attorney
general, told AFP that Salehi had been cleared of the charges,
seemingly on a technicality.

"Under Afghanistan`s laws, voice-tape can only become
evidence in drugs-related cases. Mr Salehi`s case involved
corruption," Nazari said to a news agency.

"Because the voice-tape could not become evidence he was
cleared of the charges. He was investigated," he added.

"His file will be closed in a couple of days," Nazari
added.

Weeks after his arrest, US media reported that Salehi,
head of the administration in Karzai`s National Security
Council, was on the CIA payroll.

Karzai is under pressure from his Western backers,
chiefly the US, which leads a 150,000 military force in the
country, to crack down on official graft gripping all levels
of the Afghan administration.

PTI