Taliban claim $6.5 million, gold bricks seized from resistance leader’s house
Kabul, Sep 13 (EFE).- The Taliban Monday claimed to have recovered $6.5 million and several gold bricks from the house of former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh, one of the opposition leaders who put up a strong resistance against the Islamists in the Panjshir valley.
Mashal Afghan, a member of the Taliban cultural commission, told EFE that they recovered the cache of gold and cash a day ago when security forces searched the Panjshir house of Saleh for weapons and ammunition.
They handed over the seized cash and gold to the Taliban commander in the area.
The Taliban published a video clip showing several fighters counting wads of cash with dollars stacked in three large bags inside a house in Panjshir, the last Afghan holdout province before the Islamist militia captured all Afghan regions.
“We will be handing over this amount to our leadership. We should not commit treason with the rights of widows and the blood of martyrs,” the commander says.
Corruption is so endemic in Afghanistan that it has penetrated all parts of government, global watchdog Transparency International says.
The rampant graft practices have adversely affected the ability of Afghanistan to maintain security for its citizens and deliver public services.
Saleh, 48, was the first vice president of Afghanistan before the Taliban ousted the government of President Ashraf Ghani.
He earlier served for years as the Afghanistan intelligence chief.
Saleh, who proclaimed himself as the acting Afghan president, fled to Panjshir after the Taliban seized power in Kabul on Aug.15.
He and Ahmad Massoud, the 32-year-old son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, tried to put up strong resistance against the Taliban in Panjshir.
His National Resistance Front of Afghanistan resisted the Taliban advance for more than three weeks before the Islamists overpowered them to capture the northern province on Sep.6.
After the fall of Panjshir, most of the resistance leaders retreated into the mountains.
But the whereabouts of Saleh and Massoud remain unknown amid rumors that they may have fled to Tajikistan. EFE