Crime & Justice

Afghan forces fail to arrest former soccer boss accused of sexual harassment

Kabul, Aug 24 (efe-epa).- A special operation by the Afghan security forces failed to arrest former president of Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), Keramuddin Karim, who is accused of sexual abuse and has been on the run for more than a year, official sources told EFE on Monday.

Karim was accused of sexual misdemeanor by several players of the women’s national team two years ago, leading to his suspension along with four other federation members by the Afghan government.

The special operation to arrest Karim was launched overnight in Bazarak, the capital of the northeastern province of Panjshir, according to the provincial governor’s spokesperson Mansour Aunabi.

Despite the deployment of special forces troops and air support, Aunabi explained that “the operation ended without achieving the goal, because Karim was not present in the area.”

The spokesperson attributed the failure of the operation to the lack of coordination between the Afghan authorities.

However, a provincial official told EFE on condition of anonymity that residents of the area clashed with security forces in order to protect Karim.

“Clashes erupted between local villagers, supporters of Karim and the security forces, but so far no report of any casualties as we are still gathering information” he said.

The whereabouts of the former president of the AFF remains unknown since the Attorney General’s Office issued an arrest warrant against him in June last year, after he failed to show up despite repeated summons to appear for investigations.

The Afghan government suspended the Karim and four other officials of the AFF board in December 2018 after accusations made by the women’s team members came to light.

Karim and his colleagues allegedly abused the players physically and mentally between 2013 and 2018.

FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, held Karim guilty of violating Article 23 (protection of physical and mental integrity) and Article 25 (abuse of position) of its Code of Ethics and handed him a lifelong suspension from any soccer related activity.

Soccer is one most popular sports alongside cricket in Afghanistan, and its popularity has grown among women over the past two decades after the Taliban regime – which banned women’s sports altogether – was brought down by the American invasion in 2001. EFE-EPA

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