US A-G Holder on surprise Afghanistan visit
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 14:02
Washington: US Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Kabul today for meetings with Afghan and US officials to improve law enforcement ties and battle corruption, the US Justice Department announced.

"Fighting corruption and supporting the rule of law in Afghanistan are top priorities for this administration, and we will continue to assist the Afghan government in creating and sustaining the effective criminal justice system to which the Afghan people are entitled," Holder said in the statement datelined Kabul.

Holder is the top official at the US Department of Justice, responsible for agencies that include the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Lawyers with the Justice Department have been posted in Kabul to train Afghan prosecutors and police that investigate drugs and narcotics-related offences, such as corruption and money laundering, the statement read.

DEA agents posted in Afghanistan work "to establish the drug enforcement institutions and capabilities needed to enforce the rule of law in Afghanistan," which includes "identifying, disrupting, and dismantling major drug trafficking organisations that fuel the insurgency and profit from the narco-economy."

And US Federal Bureau of Investigations agents in Afghanistan "support counterterrorism efforts and intelligence gathering as well as Afghanistan's Major Crimes Task Force, which focuses on anti-kidnapping, anti-corruption, and other organised crime."

Holder will discuss the Department of Justice's efforts "to foster the rule of law in Afghanistan and how the two countries can build lasting relationships between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors," the statement said.

Afghanistan is one of the world's most corrupt countries, according to monitoring organisation Transparency International, which rates it just above lawless Somalia.

A recent US media report said that billions of dollars in international aid money is regularly shipped out of Kabul on scheduled commercial flights, packed into suitcases, some of it even registered with customs.


First Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 14:02

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