Corruption seen behind torching of oil tankers



KABUL (Pajhwok): A delegation of Wolesi Jirga, investigating the torching of hundreds of fuel tankers, said on Monday some security and supply officials were linked to the arson attack.

But the Ministry of Interior (MoI) denied the involvement of security personnel in setting on fire the oil tankers. It said an investigation report on the issue had also been shared with the Attorney General Office.

On July 5, at least 400 tankers supplying fuel to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were burnt on a single night in the Paghman district of Kabul. MoI called the attack “a terrorist act” that the Taliban militants hailed as a tactical attack.

But the head of the Wolesi Jirga investigating team said the tankers had been set on fire by some specific elements.

Abdul Hai Akhundzada told Pajhwok Afghan News the MoI had provided government land under a flawed agreement to Mirwais, contractor of the parking area for oil tankers in Arghandi area.

He accused MoI personnel, Mirwais and officials of four supplying companies of involvement in the incident. However, he did not name the officials and supplying firms. He said the tankers were torched when they were unloaded.

“The price of each tanker was around $25,000 and the oil in each worth $100,000. The elements involved in the act have saved the oil and torched the tankers,” he claimed.

Akhundzada said the individuals involved had sold the oil and the cost of any damage to fuel and tankers was shifted to ISAF because the supplying companies and the NATO-led force had reached an agreement.

Interior Ministry officials had failed to ensure adequate security arrangements and kept the oil tankers in Paghman area for 45 long days, he argued. Findings of the investigations have been sent to the ministry, Supreme Court and ISAF.

Authorities have been requested to arrest Mirwais and four the companies’ officials. The Interior Ministry had also constituted a committee to investigate the matter.

Its head Syed Abdul Ghaffar Syed Zada said four people had been arrested in connection with this incident while Mirwais was still at large.

Syed Zada also viewed the torching of oil tankers as a terrorist act, saying investigations had been concluded. He brushed aside the allegations leveled against the ministry.  

ISAF forces, regretting the incident, said it was a matter a serious nature that should be tackled by the government. It would not be appropriate for ISAF to comment on an investigation by Afghan authorities, the force argued.



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