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Afghans Continue Withdrawing Funds from Troubled Bank


Worried Afghans are continuing to withdraw funds from the nation's largest bank, which has been at the center of corruption allegations.

Customers lined up again Saturday at several branches of Kabul Bank around the capital and other cities, after the bank was closed Friday for a holiday.

Major U.S. newspapers on Wednesday reported that the bank's chairman and chief executive had been forced to resign for allegedly mismanaging funds and spending money on risky real estate ventures.

Afghan central bank governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat denied the reports, saying the executives resigned voluntarily to comply with new rules barring shareholders from holding management positions.

Government leaders have also insisted the bank has enough assets and urged customers not to panic.

But customers in line said they did not think their money was safe and were withdrawing large amounts or closing their accounts.

Kabul Bank holds $1 billion in deposits and handles the salaries of Afghan soldiers, police and teachers.

The executives who left their jobs at the bank told the Washington Post on Friday they blamed the government's decision to dismiss them for the crisis.

President Hamid Karzai's brother, the bank's third largest shareholder, has called for the United States to intervene and guarantee the bank's deposits.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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