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Police Beat Customers At Crisis-Hit Afghan Bank


Police officers try to keep order in front of a branch of Kabul Bank today.

Police officers try to keep order in front of a branch of Kabul Bank today.

Afghan security forces used batons on customers scrambling to withdraw their savings today from a branch of troubled Kabul Bank, the country's biggest private financial institution.

Officers from the National Security Directorate struggled to maintain control of up to 200 people outside one branch in the capital as desperate customers tried to take out money ahead of a three-day Muslim holiday.

"I came here today at 5 a.m. to get my salary," one man told Reuters. "They didn't let me to go inside the bank. Anyone trying to enter the bank will be beaten up by police. I am still here."

The central bank on September 6 ordered the assets of Kabul Bank's former chairman, Sherkhan Farnud, and Chief Executive Officer Khalilullah Feruzi to be frozen, together with those of several other shareholders and major borrowers, pending an inquiry into dubious loans and risky investments.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's spokesman promised the bank's customers their savings were safe and told them to be calm.

Kabul Bank's customers include 250,000 state employees.

Reuters
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