New anti-corruption body formed in Afghanistan

09:46, November 17, 2009      

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Following harsh criticism by western leaders, Afghan government has formed a high-level anti-corruption body -- Major Crimes Task Force -- to check and investigate graft and bribery in government bodies and among senior officials to fight corruption in the post Taliban country, Afghan Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said Monday.

"Major Crimes Task Force, consisting of investigators from Interior Ministry and National Directorate Security, was formed to investigate kidnapping, public and administration corruption, as well as organized crimes," Atmar told a press conference.

Flanked by U.S. and British ambassadors to Afghanistan, Atmar stressed that, "No high officials involved in corruption would have immunity from the law anymore."

"Fighting corruption is the first priority of government in the next five years," he further emphasized.

The new anti-corruption body has been formed in the wake of criticism by the world leaders including President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who warned that donor nations would review their assistance if corruption is not checked.

President Hamid Karzai who is going to form his new administration within weeks said earlier this month that no corrupt official would have place in next government.

"The leadership of Afghanistan is committed to fight corruption," Afghan Interior Minister Atmar said and added, "The only problem we had in the past was lack of comprehensive strategy to fight the menace of corruption."

However, Afghan minister ruled out outside pressure in formation of the new anti-corruption body and added, "The institution was formed eight months ago, but we did not have essential facilities to investigate corruption-related cases."

He also admitted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)and Europe would support the newly formed anti-corruption organ in carrying out its responsibilities.

According to Atmar, more than 100 officials from the interior ministry had been prosecuted on charge of involvement in corruption over the past six months.

Source: Xinhua
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