|  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

US probes allegations Afghan Air Force involved in drug running

8 March 2012, Thursday /REUTERS/AP
US authorities are looking into allegations that some Afghan Air Force (AAF) officials have been using aircraft to transport narcotics and illegal weapons across the country, a US official said on Thursday.

“At this point allegations are being examined,” said Lt. Col. Tim Stauffer, spokesman for the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, which is setting up and financing Afghan security forces, including the Air Force. “Authorities are trying to determine whether the allegations warrant a full investigation.”

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the allegations, said the US military is also looking into whether the alleged transporting of illegal drugs and weapons is connected to an April incident in which an AAF colonel killed eight US Air Force officers at Kabul Airport.

A US Air Force report about the deaths quoted American officials as saying that the killer was likely involved in moving illegal cargo, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Most of the victims had been taking part in an inquiry into the misuse of AAF aircraft, the newspaper said.

The allegations of drug running come from “credible” Afghan officers inside and outside the AAF and coalition personnel working within the AAF, it added.

An Afghan defence ministry official would not comment on the issue. But he did say that Afghanistan had come under pressure from the West to remove a senior AAF official over corruption allegations.

“They could not provide credible evidence,” he told Reuters.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, the AAF commander, told Reuters the drug-running allegations were “baseless and they must be proven.” “We never do such things,” he added.

The allegations are likely to raise further doubts over the ability of Afghan forces to secure the country before foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014.

The AAF was set up mostly with US funds.

The United States poured in a record amount, near $12 billion between October 2010 and September 2011, to train and equip Afghanistan's security forces. Almost as much cash, some $11 billion, is planned for the year through September 2012.  

Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world's opium and the drug trade is often blamed by Western officials for hindering economic development.

The poppy economy in Afghanistan, which provides an income for insurgents in the country blighted by decades of war, has grown significantly in 2011 with soaring prices and expanded cultivation, a UN report said late last year. 

 
 
WORLD  Other Titles
Australian premier's resignation as a sign of less, not more, corruption
UK PM's former media aide tells court he heard hacked messages
Aussie state premier's resignation a sign of less, not more, graft
Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations
Nigeria vows to protect May's ‘African Davos' in bomb-hit capital
Berlusconi ordered to do community service for tax conviction
Doctor to be tried in Britain's first female genital mutilation court case
Prosecutor wraps up Oscar Pistorius' grilling in murder trial
Syria opposition claims has evidence of chlorine gas attack
Egypt woman prof. targets young in bid to save Brotherhood
China seizes more than 10,000 illegal guns in crackdown
Macedonians vote for new president as general election nears
Complaints of serious fraud in Afghan polls exceed total in 2009
Indonesian parties in pact, clear way for top presidential candidate
UN climate panel warns emissions rising, blurs reason
Biden to visit Kiev to show US support for Ukraine unity
Iran rejects naming new United Nations envoy after US refusal
Death toll in fighting between Syrian rivals rises to 68
Venezuelan leader meets opposition
Egyptian police say kill two Brotherhood members in shootout
Murdered girl's mom says News of the World was force for good
Prosecutor, defense urge community service for Berlusconi
US health secretary quits over Obamacare
At least 10 dead when truck slams students bus in California
International students celebrate Prophet Muhammad in Gaziantep
...
Bloggers