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Afghan Police Beat Back Customers at Troubled Bank


Afghan security forces beat back crowds of anxious customers Wednesday as they attempted to withdraw their salaries from a branch of scandal-ridden Kabul Bank.

Armed police from the National Directorate of Security struggled to maintain control as hundreds of depositors tried to take out money from the only branch that remained open in the capital.

Angry customers said they needed to withdraw money ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which concludes the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The crisis at Kabul Bank broke out last week after U.S. media reported that the chairman and chief executive were forced to quit for allegedly mismanaging funds and spending money on risky real-estate ventures.

Since then customers have lined up almost daily to withdraw savings or close accounts, despite government assurances that the bank is solvent and will not collapse.

Kabul Bank, the country's largest private bank, holds $1 billion in deposits and handles the salaries of Afghan soldiers, police and teachers.

Last week Afghan President Hamid Karzai tried to reassure anxious bank customers, saying every penny of their deposits would be guaranteed by the government.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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