Thursday 24 April 2014
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Kabul Bank founder Sherkhan Farnood on Wednesday accused President Hamid Karzai of using $20 million of the bank's funds for his presidential election bid, contributing to its near collapse in 2010.

Farnood made the accusation at a public court hearing in Kabul, also naming other leading officials including Afghan Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal and Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Daoudzai among those who dealt in corrupt practices.

Prosecutors called for the US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers to face a full court-martial and even death.

But the family of Sergeant Robert Bales insisted he was innocent until proven guilty, calling him "courageous and honorable," while his lawyer raised questions about the role of alcohol, drugs and stress in the tragedy.

Lawmakers welcomed the start of talks for a security deal between Kabul and Washington, set to begin Thursday, saying the pact is necessary for the future of Afghanistan because the national forces need help.

"The National Army, police and directorate of security still don't have the ability to act against opposing groups and Al Qaeda [alone], therefore we call the pact a necessity; it must be signed," Sayed Ishaq Gilani, member of the parliamentary international relations committee said Wednesday.

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