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Karzai admits intervening on behalf of aide

Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted Sunday to intervening on behalf of one of his top aides imprisoned on corruption charges. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Karzai secured the release of the aide, Mohammad Zia Salehi, who was arrested on the orders of Karzai's attorney general, according to Afghan officials. A Karzai adviser initially denied the president's involvement.

"Yes, absolutely I intervened," Karzai said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "Not only did I intervene, but I intervened very, very strongly." Karzai said Salehi was taken from his home by armed men in the middle of the night and thrown into prison. He likened the tactic to those employed by the former Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Karzai also defended his decision to disband private security firms working in his country by the end of the year, saying they were "running a parallel security structure to the Afghan government." He blamed the firms for undermining the growth of Afghanistan's army and police forces.

(Photos: Taliban expands influence in northern Afghanistan)

"One of the reasons that I want them disbanded and removed by four months from now is exactly because their presence is preventing the growth and the development of the Afghan Security Forces," Karzai said on ABC's "This Week," adding that the higher salaries paid by private firms hurt police recruitment. He also blamed private contractors for contributing to the rampant corruption in Afghanistan and appealed to U.S. taxpayers to stop funding "Mafia-like" groups who are funding insurgents and terrorism.

Karzai said the war against the Taliban and other insurgent groups is "absolutely winnable," but while his government has "individual contacts" within the Taliban, there is not yet a "formal process" for negotiating with the militants.

The Afghan leader said he was "shocked" to hear of the stoning deaths of a couple by the Taliban and said the incident represented a "failure" of his government to "give protection to the Afghan people."

By Matt DeLong  |  August 22, 2010; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Since this is on The President Obama blog, where is The President Obama's comment?

This is so sick, you don't even have the decency to mention His name in your post.

Racist pigs.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 23, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I saw the Amanpour interview.

I'm all for the withdrawing of private contractors.
Too many players. Chaos/control.

He didn't mention the Major Crimes Task Force or Sensitive Investigative Unit.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | August 22, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Blackwater/Xe founder relocating to UAE

Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious security company Blackwater/Xe, has left the United States and is settling with his family in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Prince, 51, personally is not facing any criminal charges for now, but his company, now known as Xe Services LLC, has been implicated in a series of scandals related to its operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, court documents say.

In documents filed with the Justice Department, the North Carolina-based company is facing multiple lawsuits, including a case in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, alleging that Blackwater/Xe defrauded the US government. The case was brought up by two former employees, AFP reported on Wednesday.

Five former executives have been indicted on federal firearms charges, and two former contractors are on trial in Norfolk, Virginia, accused of murdering two civilians in Afghanistan in 2009. They pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had sought to obtain a statement from Prince before his departure for Abu Dhabi, saying he might not return to the United States “if he is indicted on weapons smuggling charges or other matters.”

Prince's attorneys responded, saying, “There is no basis for such speculation.” But the judge in the case has ordered Prince to appear for the deposition on August 23, 2010 or another day, but not later than September 3, in Abu Dhabi.

Xe has earned over $1 billion doing security work for the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prince put the company up for sale in June.

In the June 4 edition of The Wall Street Journal, it was reported that Xe's most recent government contract tasked the group with protecting CIA bases in Afghanistan.

The report was confirmed at the end of June by Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta during a TV interview, the newspaper wrote.

Blackwater/Xe mercs were hated by the Iraqis during their time in that country because they were able to kill many civilians with impunity.

Posted by: clownsandliars1 | August 22, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Karzai's Brother Accused of Influence-Peddling

A lightning rod of criticism, Karzai's brother accused of influence peddling, wrongdoing
The Associated Press
By DEB RIECHMANN and MIRWAIS KHAN Associated Press Writers
KABUL, Afghanistan May 18, 2010 (AP)

So it's friends and family that are always on Karzai's mind, not the Afghans.

We are wasting our money and people unless we can help the Afghans get rid of corruption.

Posted by: dummy4peace | August 22, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

We should stone him before he exiles to Europe with millions of our tax payers money...

Posted by: 521sunnyside | August 22, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

To prevent the aide from implicating him he had two choices. Kill him or rescue him. Since he was in our hands killing was off the table. I wouldn't be surprised if he turns up dead in the next couple of months.

Posted by: askgees | August 22, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Nowhere to be found in all the talk of government spending; Defense. Now over $750 billion per year. No problem?

Lift up the rock to find more slush funds, overspending and fraud, than even in Medicare...

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | August 22, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh my! We really, really need to cut this guy loose and let him deal with his problems, left to his own devices. The sooner, the better.

Posted by: JohnBrown08 | August 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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