US A-G Holder on surprise Afghanistan visit
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
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.