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Karzai fires top graft-fighting prosecutor

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has fired a top prosecutor who was determined to root out corruption, the ousted official said.

Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar told The New York Times Saturday Karzai dismissed him as deputy attorney general last week because he refused to block investigations of graft at the highest levels of the state.

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Faqiryar said Karzai, Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Alok and others in power are obstructing probes of wrongdoing by more than two dozen senior officials -- including Cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors

Faqiryar's account, which Karzai's chief of staff denied, has been backed up in interviews with Western officials, the Times reported. They say Karzai and others in his government have repeatedly thwarted prosecutions against top figures.

An American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Times prosecutors had prepared several corruption cases, but Karzai was "stalling and stalling and stalling."

This month, Karzai intervened to stop the prosecution of one of his closest aides, Mohammed Zia Salehi, who investigators say had been wiretapped demanding a bribe from another Afghan seeking his help in stopping a corruption investigation.

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