Afghan Leader's Brother Tied to Drug Trade: US

Karzai denies claims, but Washington believes 'he's dirty'
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2008 3:35 PM CDT
A Taliban militant is seen with an AK- 47 rifle gun as farmers collect resin from poppies in an opium poppy field in Afghanistan, which provides about 95% of the world's heroin supply.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – The White House believes that the brother of Afghanistan’s US-backed president has ties to the country’s heroin trade, the New York Times reports. Hamid Karzai insists there is no firm proof against his brother, who calls himself a “victim of vicious politics.” But numerous reports from Washington and Kabul link Ahmed Wali Karzai to traffickers, insiders say.

“It’s no secret about Wali Karzai and drugs,” says an Afghan informant who was jailed after squealing about a drug delivery involving Karzai’s bodyguard. Washington has adopted a hands-off approach to the matter, which isn’t all that surprising in Afghanistan, supplier of 95% of the world’s heroin. Says a former US official: “Narco-corruption went to the top of the Afghan government.”