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Karzai asks for probe into drug claims

Aug. 31, 2006 at 11:59 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan to investigate whether his younger brother is involved in the drug trade.

Citing intelligence reports, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Ahmed Wali Karzai -- head of the provincial council in Kandahar -- also heads an organization that provides protection for drug traffickers in southern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is the world's leading supplier of opium, accounting for 90 percent of the world's supply. The United Nations estimates that more than half the country's gross domestic product comes from drug trafficking.

The president denies that his brother is involved, but has asked Ambassador Ronald Neumann to conduct an independent investigation.

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