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Afghan cabinet ministers investigated under suspicion of corruption

[JURIST] The Afghan attorney general's office announced on Monday that two Afghan cabinet ministers are being questioned on corruption charges. The ministers are suspected of embezzlement [Reuters report] and are among 15 government officials currently under investigation. The announcement came a week after President Hamid Karzai [official profile, JURIST news archive] vowed [JURIST report] in his inaugural address to fight governmental corruption. The identities of the ministers will remain unknown, pursuant to Afghan law, which prohibits the naming of suspects until a conviction is upheld by the Supreme Court [official website]. Despite last week's pledge to fight corruption, Karzai has delayed [Telegraph report] signing the necessary arrest warrants needed to begin an official trial.

The international community, including the US and EU, has applied pressure to Karzai over corruption in the Afghan government. Earlier this month, Karzai announced [BBC report] the formation of a commission to investigate corruption in the same week that Afghanistan was ranked [JURIST report] by Transparency International [advocacy website] as the second most corrupt country in the world. The Obama administration has recently increased pressure on the Afghan government amid a major policy review [New York Times report] of the US war effort. The legitimacy and competence of the Afghan government is seen as a major factor in the deliberations by top US officials. Karzai was declared the winner [JURIST report] of the controversial presidential election [JURIST news archive] earlier this month when challenger Abdullah Abdullah [BBC profile] withdrew from the runoff.

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