Karzai Intervened in Aide's Corruption Probe
Bribery charge lifted after 'enormous pressure' from Afghan prez
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 11:59 PM CDT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks with the media after giving a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul last month.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai personally stepped in to secure the release of an aide arrested on corruption charges, officials say. The aide, Mohammad Zia Salehi, was arrested for soliciting a bribe. He was also being probed by two task forces for supplying cash and gifts like luxury Lexuses to presidential allies, and for having telephone contact with the Taliban, sources tell the Washington Post.

An Afghan official says the country's attorney-general came under "enormous pressure" from Karzai to free Salahi, who has played a major role in the president's efforts to make a peace deal with insurgents. The sources say that anti-corruption investigators now fear for their own safety and believe it will be impossible to convict anybody close to the president. Some believe that the anti-corruption task forces will soon be disbanded.