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Karzai’s brother denies links to drug trade
Kabul, Oct 6 (AP):
Published on 7 Oct. 2008 12:34 AM IST
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President Hamid Karzai’s brother denied today that he has ever been involved in Afghanistan’s heroin trade and accused US officials of fabricating allegations to harm the president. Ahmed Wali Karzai said no one has ever been able to prove that he is involved in drugs. The issue was revived over the weekend after The New York Times reported that two unnamed US officials said the White House believes Wali Karzai is involved in heroin trafficking. Wali Karzai said US officials are trying to put political pressure on President Karzai for two reasons: to deflect attention from civilian casualties caused by US military actions and force Karzai’s government to release a prisoner the US wants to talk to. “Whenever there is a problem between the Afghan president and the international community I have been used as a punching bag,” said Wali Karzai, who called a news conference in Kandahar today to address the Times article. “I challenge everyone in the international community and in Afghanistan that they are welcome to take me to court. If they can prove (allegations), I am ready to serve any kind of justice,” Wali Karzai told The Associated Press. Wali Karzai is chairman of the provincial council in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces over 90 per cent of the world’s opium, the raw ingredient for making heroin. Its market value is in the billions of dollars. Most of the drugs are produced in the south, where the insurgency is the most violent. The Times reported that the White House and counter-narcotics officials believe the president’s brother is involved in the lucrative trade, which has corrosive effects on the government and also provides funds for the insurgency.

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