David Nakamura and Javed Hamdard
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
KABUL — Fears over the future of ailing Kabul Bank grew violent Wednesday as state police beat back crowds of frustrated Afghan government workers attempting to withdraw their salaries on the final day before a four-day national holiday.
More than 500 government employees, including local police officers, Afghan National Army soldiers and teachers, mobbed the sole Kabul Bank branch that remained open, only to be kept at bay by armed police from the country’s National Directorate of Security. The crowds pressed in so closely that the NDS police started punching and shoving people to keep them back. The guards also threatened to destroy the cameras of journalists attempting to take pictures of the scene. An Associated Press cameraman was punched before jumping into a car and speeding off.
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“This is shameful that these simple police officers are beating up more high-ranking officers,” said Abdul Hanan, a policeman who had come to collect his $450 monthly salary. “We are educated people, not animals. We need to get our salaries. I have worked in more than 20 provinces but I am standing out here unable to get my salary.”
The standoff was the latest setback for attempts by President Hamid Karzai’s administrationto control public fears about the future of Kabul Bank, whose top two executives were forced to resign last week after the discovery of a series of risky off-the-books loans and property investments in Dubai.
This article was posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 3:50 am