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Central & South Asia
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Accusations of corruption against two of Afghanistan's top ministers are dropped.
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2009 12:08 GMT
Karzai's rivals say he will use the list to sanction those who endorsed his election rival, Abdullah [Getty]

Two of Afghanistan's top ministers have been cleared of corruption charges just hours after appearing on a list of government ministers deemed corrupt by the country's attorney general.

The deputy attorney general said the foreign and interior ministers' names had been included on the list presented to the Afghan parliamant on Thursday because of a "sense of miscommunication".

"The prosecutors office originally said Hanif Atmar, the interior minister, may have tampered with his CV ... and they were concerned about the legitimacy of his university qualification," said Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul.

"But now they are saying it was a bonafide CV and a genuine university diploma. He is cleared from the list."

Rangin Spanta, the foreign minister, who was accused of wrongdoing, was also cleared.

Ahelbarra said there was a string of evidence against two other ministers, but the deputy attorney general did not elaborate.

The list, released on the final day of a three-day anti-corruption conference, originally included 15 former ministers, five ministers currently holding positions and six governors in Afghanistan.

International pressure

The conference, the first official act by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, since he was sworn in for a second term, was convened after calls from his Western backers to make the country's government more transparent, particularly in the wake of the fraud-tainted presidential poll that took place in August.

Karzai was declared the winner by default when Abdullah Abdullah, his main challenger, pulled out, citing irregularities.

"This is going to have an impact on the future of Afghanistan," Ahelbarra said.

"We will have to wait for another 48 hours for Karzai to announce the final make-up of his government, to see whether he is hearing calls from the international community and the Afghan people to sanction those involved in bribery and kick-back schemes.

"However, his rivals are saying he will use this list to sanction those who endorsed doctor Abdullah, his election rival."

Daoud Sultanzoy, an Afghan member of parliament, told Al Jazeera, the list leaves a lot of room for political influencing and agendas.

"There is a lot of international and domestic pressure for Karzai to stamp out the endemic corruption in this country," Sultanzoy said.

"However, this pressure can create a very zealous approach, we have to make sure we don't malign those who are being hunted for political reasons." 

Source:
Al Jazeera
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