Skyreporter Helps Get Results In Kabul Airport Heroin Scandal

Rogue Attorney General Humbled By Gen. Amerkhel’s Return

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Amerkhel was forced into exile in London

General Aminullah Amerkhel, whose suspension as chief of police at Kabul Airport led to a reported surge of heroin smuggling, has returned to Afghanistan from exile in London to face down his now-discredited accuser, Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet.

Prior to leaving London for Kabul Tuesday, Amerkhel thanked skyreporter.com for detailing his plight in our series of film reports, AFGHAN HEROIN, which can be viewed in previous file pages to the left of this screen.

“Thank you, from me and my family,” Amerkhel said by telephone. “You are the number one reason I’m able to go back home.”

Amerkhel’s return, however, is first and foremost a victory for Senate Speaker Sibgatullah Mojadidi, who in a series of meetings with Hamid Karzai has pressed the President to restrain his reckless, hot-headed Attorney General. Transcripts of skyreporter’s stories about Sabet’s bizarre crusade against Amerkhel were discussed at several of these meetings.

Over a six month period, Attorney General Sabet has failed to produce detailed charges in the case. Both Interpol and British police shunned his attempts to have Amerkhel arrested in London. This, even though Sabet is allegedly in the pay of MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency (see ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE, April 24).

The British are thought to have tired of Attorney General Sabet’s controversies – not least his order, last week, for a jackboot-style police raid on the country’s most popular independent source of news, Tolo TV.

But unquestionably, Sabet’s downward spiral began with the unexplained and arbitrary removal of one of the country’s most effective drug-busting policemen. Amerkhel’s senior colleagues have said - on the record and on camera – that the general is a sound, experienced officer. Only out of respect for Afghanistan’s constitution, they explained, have they been forced to acquiesce to the Attorney General’s actions.

Now, that same constitution is coming back to haunt Sabet. Like the arrests and beatings at Tolo TV last week, Sabet’s campaign against Amerkhel appears to be legally groundless. Worse, according to senior lawmen and legislators, the suspension was followed by a resumption of heroin trafficking.

Subsequent to Sabet’s suspension of Amerkhel - and despite the Attorney General’s reported limited means - he began developing an expensive residential lot overlooking one of Kabul’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Sources have told skyreporter that Sabet also increased his staff. His circle of personal confederates has grown, too, though not entirely on the government payroll.

As for Amerkhel’s future, parliamentary sources indicate that a number of the general’s fellow police officials intend to clear his name - and put him back to work against the country’s drug gangs. Sabet, meantime, has taken news of Amerkhel’s return angrily, and has planted at least one story with a pro-regime news outlet claiming that there are still charges to be answered.

For now, though, Amerkhel is enjoying a reunion with his wife and six children. It’s a far different fate than the one Sabet had planned for him last autumn. Arrest proceedings were underway, meaning that the general would have been jailed alongside many criminals he had helped convict.

Fearing for his life, Amerkhel fled to London, using an entry visa from an earlier visit to Britain sponsored by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s transport minister. On that occasion, the general had consulted with Britain’s head of aviation security and other top civil servants, passing on his knowledge and advice.

Now, a valued and trusted lawman is back on the ground in Afghanistan. How his case proceeds will say much about the Karzai administration’s struggle to regain some measure of credibility.

Abdul Jabar Sabet is still in his office - the office where seven reporters found themselves one night last week, arrested without warrants and beaten, some severely.

Keep an eye on skyreporter.com  It's office cleaning season in Kabul.

Posted by John Percy  |  April 26, 2007 5:32 a.m.

Office cleaning time! Ooh, ooh, I'm good with a broom...either end.

Once Sabet is removed, it is imperative that Canadians do NOT allow this man to slink back into our country. His circumstances in arriving here are suspect at best and criminal in fact. I, for one, (and I know many others as well) intend to keep up the pressure on my government to make this man and his family persona non grata here.

Posted by Tony D  |  April 26, 2007 6:10 a.m.

I am so glad that this site may have a domino effect that can really help to change the way we must get things done.

Kudos to you Arthur.

Posted by Keith  |  April 26, 2007 7:09 a.m.

Kudos to you Arthur for showing Canadians areas in our system that could also be improved . State police ethics / accountability of elected officials and unbiased media reporting .

Posted by Arthur Kent  |  April 26, 2007 7:20 a.m.

Guys, thanks so much for your comments, but all I'm doing here, to be honest, is letting information flow. I hope other reporters on the web and in the mainstream media will understand there's a great opportunity for all of us to place compelling pressure on the men Who Would Be King. Not just those in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, but more importantly in places like London, Washington DC and Ottawa.

Believe me: so many Canadian public service chiefs and staffers are ready to talk. It is no longer in the interests of Canada, and especially not of Afghanistan, to have our political leadership laying down fatwas against the free flow of information.

Posted by Bidaar Garmany  |  April 26, 2007 11:13 a.m.

Thanks skyreporter you are the best.
I am so glad that Amekhel return to Afghanistan.
He was one Hero in Afghanistan.

Posted by Chaqw  |  April 26, 2007 11:23 a.m.

Attorney General Sabet go back to Canada.
Or to guwantanamo.
you are not frome Afghanistan.
you have Canadian Pasport.
Attorney General Sabet you have avew day tofrome Afghanistan.

Posted by Cathy  |  April 26, 2007 11:23 a.m.

This is wonderful news about General Amerkehl! And don't downplay your role in this, skyreporter.com -- you may only be passing on information, but it's information that has not until recently (via this website) been available. It enables those who care to take action. I hope other journalists around the world will take to the web and let the truth be heard.

Posted by P.S. Barr  |  April 26, 2007 12:45 p.m.

The following is my 2nd attempt to reach my MP regarding these questions concerning Sabet and his curious role in Canada. As I had not even received an acknowledgement of receipt of the last correspondance I sent, I have now sent this 2nd one today. These events reported by Arthur do not seem to be seeing daylight in Canada, and considering we now have this Sabet as a citizen, I want to know why. I urge all Canadians to keep the pressure on their MP's - they are just a 'click' away and MUST be made accountable to their constituents by providing answers to these very relevant questions which involve our country's (and thereby 'our') reputation. BTW, an article today by reporter Declan Walsh of the Guardian seems to think Mr. Sabet is doing a 'heckofa' job. Curiouser and curiouser!

"I emailed your office, at least the address given on the federal government website, last week concerning Mr. Sabet, the Attorney General of Afghanistan and the crackdown on the Freedom of the Press in Afghanistan under the brutal tactics of the unstable Mr. Sabet. I also asked why he not only has had a residence in Montreal since 1999 where his family now lives, but why he was granted citizenship in 2001 and apparently also collected welfare compliments of the Canadian taxpayer for a time. It is curious that Canada would give this man citizenship when the United States would not grant him residency. Why is that? And yes, it was under PM Chretian's watch, but that is neither here nor there for the average Canadian citizen who is looking for answers today.

I did not receive an acknowledgement from your office that you had even received the email so am trying to contact you once again, my MP for whom I did indeed vote, to kindly at the very least acknowledge receipt of a communication from one of your constituents and kindly address some of my concerns. If you need further information concerning these goings-on in Afghanistan, I suggest you peruse the independent journalist Arthur Kent's outstanding website at www.skyreporter.com where you can read comments and enter into dialogue with Afghani citizens who are living 'the dream' day after day after day.

The corruption in the puppet government of Hamid Karzai is mind-boggling and although some of the government are trying to drag the country into this century, Mr. Sabet does not appear to be one of them."

Posted by Kamran  |  April 26, 2007 12:48 p.m.

Great work AK/SR

For now he is going back to clear his name only? He has a tough road. I guess pretty early to speculate if he would get his old job back???

Posted by Arthur Kent  |  April 26, 2007 2:11 p.m.

PS Barr, great that you're keeping up the pressure. Our MPs of all people should be responding - they're elected to represent us, after all, even if it means telling their party leadership to open up and get real.

Kamran, yesterday General Amerkhel was greeted by friends bearing flowers at Kabul airport. Many of the airport's employees came out to welcome him. He'll be back in uniform eventually - soon, in fact, if sanity prevails.

Cathy, Chaqw and Bidaar - you're too kind. Let's all keep the pressure up.

Posted by John Percy  |  April 26, 2007 2:43 p.m.

PS Barr, don't forget to CC the same emails to the various Opposition Defence and Immigration Critics. If your MP is a government member, I can guarantee that nothing will come of you inquiry, unless he/she sees that the other side might respond. Build a list and blanket email each day. Make them sick of you. It's the only way they move on anything. Sad but true.

Posted by John Percy  |  April 26, 2007 2:48 p.m.

Arthur, if you're ever in Halifax, I'll buy you a beer.

Posted by sko  |  April 26, 2007 2:55 p.m.

I feel so lost when I read about all that people say and know via this website. I wonder if I am the average "American". I don't want to be known as the "Ugly American". I am learning... slowly...but...learning, nonetheless....

Posted by John Percy  |  April 26, 2007 3:04 p.m.

sko..Average Americans are fine people and there is no shame in feeling "lost". We have all been betrayed by the lust for power in people we trusted and are now awakening. Welcome and do whatever you can, locally, federally, via Internet, speaking to friends. Awareness is the key. Once people are aware there is no going back, no deception. Aware, self-educated people are dangerous to power-mongers. It's the best thing you can do.

Posted by sko  |  April 26, 2007 3:12 p.m.

Is it possible to know so little of what goes around the world or am I just stupid???

Posted by sko  |  April 26, 2007 3:20 p.m.

Thanks, JP. I will try.

Posted by P.S. Barr  |  April 26, 2007 3:48 p.m.

For those wishing to contact the Liberal and NDP Defense and Immigration critics in our Parliament, their email addresses are as follows:

Liberal Defence Critic: Denis Coderre at Coderre.D@parl.gc.ca

Liberal Immigration Critic: Omar Alghabra at Alghabra.O@parl.gc.ca

NDP Defense Critic: Dawn Black at Blackd@parl.gc.ca

NDP Immigration Critic: Bill Siksay at Siksay.B@parl.gc.ca

I would encourage Canadians to not only email the current Conservative members representing the Defense and Immigration Departments, but to also email the above critics for those departments. Let's get some of these questions answered and get these guys to do their jobs of being accountable to us, those who gave them their jobs!

And to SKO in the United States, wander around the internet and read newspapers, blogs , etc from other countries and try to sift out the threads of truth. Unfortunately, the western media, more so in the US (but Canada is trying hard to catch up), has sold out to the companies that own them and to their advertisers - they have become somewhat the equivalent of People magazine - light reading full of insignificant blather. You have some excellent reporting still on your PBS stations - Bill Moyer is a must-see every Friday (this Friday promises to be great with guest Jon Stewart and I shouldn't think Jon will be there in a comedic role!)

Posted by Arthur Kent  |  April 26, 2007 5:42 p.m.

Too true. I remember a network executive once telling me that one phone call to the switchboard registering a complaint represented thousands of other people who felt the same way. Politicians do take note of their in-tray's filling up.

Let's let them in on a little secret: they might have an easier time holding on to their positions if they actually delivered on the finely-worded promises they make about initiatives such as Afghanistan.

Posted by Ahmad- Kandahar Province  |  April 26, 2007 7:39 p.m.

Thanks for your reports. This is a victory for a man, who deserved it in the country all the authoroties are corrupt. Keep up the good work and persuade the Western Government to assist us in the reform of the president Karzia government. We need some one to serve us and work for us. We need fredom of speech, thought and belief. We do not need extrimists to lead us and destroy further this beautiful country. Please put more preasure on your governments to remove Abdul Jabar Sabit, the minister of media and information and some others in the president Karzia corrupt and facist team. They do not work for us and just came to collect money and leave Afghanistan back to the Taliban to come back.
We ask you kindly to push the reform of this adminsteration, we really need honest people to work for us. We do not need more troops, we need a good system of the good goevrnance in our country. I'm writing this from Kandahar a hot spot to every one read this comments. Please bring some positive reforms, assist us to fight with all dark and extrimists people. We need moderate and honest leaders.


Posted by Arthur Kent  |  April 26, 2007 9:33 p.m.

Ahmad, as you say: moderate and honest leaders. It's as simple as that, and yet so complex - because we've allowed too many people with deep pockets or strong armies to control our political systems. What happened to members of parliament who felt their first responsibility is to the people, not to the party machine or the overlords who pay to control that machine? In the UK, Canada or Afghanistan, that's the question.

Tell us - what is it that the people of Kandahar long for? And how can we help?

Posted by Bonny  |  April 26, 2007 9:37 p.m.

What wonderful news. My prayers will be with General Amerkhel, for his safety and success. Great work Arthur. You are an excellent journalist. And this web site was a great idea!

Posted by Ahmad- Kandahar Province  |  April 26, 2007 11:44 p.m.

Thanks for your kind reply. The Afghanistan parlimant is very weak and devided by most of the factions. You see Sayyaf is now a supporter of Karzia government to safeguard his position and party. He had very close reations with Ussama and some other extrimists. Afghanistan parlimant is full of warlords and drug-lords. They were paid for each minister to vote for and select. But all the power is with Karzia government and his team. The parlimant dise not have its legisletive power to make good laws and support Afghan Nations. There is no good governance system. Like in Kandahar, Assadullah Khalid a close associate of Karzia's brother is the governor. He has no qualification, only being supported by president brother to assist him in the drug trafficking and covering his crimes. No body in Afghanistan like the Tliban, they have very bad expreinces from the past, while they were in the power and imposed a harsh and strict law by the name of Islam. I tell all the people that Taliban does not believe in peace and insatbility, thier mandate is to kill as much people as possible and go as soon to the Paradise- as they think. They do not believe in the reconcilations. There are no moderate and extrimists Taliban. All the same. Talks won't work with them. You should empower the people and know what our people really wants.
Please do not impose the leaders on Afghans, like Karzia, Abdul Jabar Sabit, Karim Khuram, Ahady and Farooq Wardak. All were members of Warlord Hekmatyar polotical party members and have the same thoughts. All the governors in the South are corrupt, I know them well.
Afghan poeple disappointed from Westestn government, becuase of supporting Karzia governmenting and not bring some positive reforms.
There is no coordination among Karzia government ministers and authorities.
Please do not concenterate too much on troops and fightings. Think how to make the nation and good goverment, which the people like it. Abdul Jabar Sabit is our attorny and you think, who is he and how he thinks?

We need fredom of thoughts, belief and speech. We do not need all these bad people and they must be remoeved if you wants peace to come to Afghanistan, otherwise, it would be worse than Iraq. I tell you your more troops will be killed for Karzia and his team and not for Afghan people.


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