Official cites U.S. threat over corruption case

A look inside the partnership between U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers in an area in southern Afghanistan called Marja
By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 29, 2010; 6:54 PM

KABUL -- Afghanistan's attorney general on Tuesday accused the U.S. ambassador in Kabul of threatening to have him ousted if he didn't pursue the case of a banker suspected of fraud.

Mohammed Ishaq Aloko lashed out at Karl W. Eikenberry during a news conference in the Afghan capital convened to dispute the allegation that his office's corruption task force routinely bows to political pressure from President Hamid Karzai's administration. The Washington Post reported Monday that U.S. officials working with the attorney general's office are frustrated by political meddling that derails corruption probes.

Aloko described his office as "independent" and immune to political influence. He said Eikenberry recently violated "diplomatic ethics" by suggesting that Aloko could lose his job if he didn't aggressively prosecute a banker incriminated during the prosecution of a minister who left the country after being charged with corruption.

"The ambassador's discussions with his counterparts are private, and we're not going to comment on them," said U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

Earlier Tuesday, an Afghan employee of the United Nations was shot in Kabul while driving a marked U.N. vehicle. The shooting occurred near a busy downtown traffic circle near the gate that leads to the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters.

The United Nations said in a statement that it is investigating the shooting and demanded that the culprits "be brought to justice without delay."

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