The West’s losing war on Afghanistan’s heroin industry was dealt another severe blow today when a disgraced former minister, who presided over the looting of at least one third of international funding of the national police force, was approved by MPs in Kabul to head the Karzai regime’s counter-narcotics ministry.
Zarar Muqbul was sacked from the Interior Ministry in October of 2008 after a three year term that saw tens of millions of dollars embezzled from the U.N. administered Law and Order Trust Fund.
Zarar's tenure at the policing ministry was marred by a huge spike in heroin trafficking, official corruption and public mistrust of the Afghan National Police.
Although Zarar’s renomination by Hamid Karzai was denounced as a travesty by anti-drugs officials of some of the Afghan president’s leading international sponsors, his confirmation was secured by a parliamentary majority stitched together by pro-Karzai MPs, together with the estimated 20 to 25 members of the Afghan parliament who are thought to be directly involved in the heroin trade.
Overall, however, it was a bad day for Karzai: ten of his 17 nominees were rejected.
This means that after two attempts at assembling a cabinet, the president's team is dominated by his principal ballot riggers, such as current Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal, and Defence Minister Rahim Wardak, widely regarded in Afghanistan as a hard-drinking incompetent.
For more on Zarar’s storied past, see our feature story Karzai’s Ambassador Admits Ex-Minister Is A “Problem”, as well as Karzai Mocks Canada By Renaming Crooked Crony in Recent Stories.