US troops detain senior Afghan police official
US forces have detained a senior police officer in northeastern Afghanistan for alleged corruption and links to insurgents, an Afghan official and Nato said yesterday.
A senior provincial official said Atahullah Wahaab, deputy police chief in Kapisa province, was taken into custody by US forces on Friday.
The police "commander was arrested by ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) and coalition forces for illegal activity and corruption," the US military, operating under Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), said in a statement.
The statement said Wahaab was a "facilitator" of improvised explosive devices (IED), and was involved in the storage, distribution and installation of IEDs on roads in Kapisa.
"He is also involved in bribery and corruption related to road refurbishment," the statement said, adding: "He has been clearly linked to criminal activities including a murder during the summer of 2009."
Afghan security forces were involved in the operation that led to Wahaab's detention, it said.
Abdul Aleem Ayar, a spokesman for the provincial government, said Wahaab was picked up by US forces at his home in Mahmood Raqi, Kapisa's capital.
Local authorities had no evidence to back up the allegations against Wahaab, Ayar said.
"Mr Wahaab has been serving as deputy police chief for the past year. He has been at the service of the people and we have nothing to prove he was involved in crimes or whatever the US forces say," he said.
In Kabul, neither the interior ministry, which handles police matters, nor the defence ministry could be immediately reached for comment.
The police force is among the most corrupt institutions in Afghanistan, where a Taliban insurgency has extended its reach across 80 percent of the country on the back of a lack of trust in the judiciary.
President Hamid Karzai has pledged to eradicate official corruption as part of promised reforms.
The United States has 82,085 troops in Afghanistan, 47,085 of them operating under Nato command as part of a total force of around 113,000 foreign troops fighting the insurgency.
IEDs have become the deadliest weapon in the Taliban arsenal, claiming most of the 57 foreign troops killed in the country so far this year.