South Asia

Profile: Abdul Qadeer Fitrat

Abdul Qadeer Fitrat
Image caption Mr Fitrat as governor found himself pitted against powerful vested interests

When Abdul Qadeer Fitrat was appointed governor of Afghanistan's central bank by President Karzai, he was told that one of his primary objectives was to fight corruption and fraud.

For the first few years his job was - by Afghan standards at least - relatively uneventful. It was only when hundreds of millions of dollars were discovered to be missing from the privately-owned Kabul Bank in 2010 that his job suddenly became extremely complicated.

Mr Fitrat's determination to expose corruption was possibly a task that he performed a little too assiduously, because in the course of his work he appears to have made some powerful enemies.

In making his resignation announcement on Monday, Mr Fitrat said his campaign to root out corruption at Kabul Bank had put his life in danger and accused the government of failing to assist the bank in its investigations to expose it.

His departure has been met with anger by the Afghan government - a spokesman labelled him a "runaway governor," saying that Mr Fitrat never told anybody his life was in danger.

Nonetheless his departure is a setback, not only personally for him but to the Afghan government and the international community. Many hoped that with someone of Mr Fitrat's experience at the helm of the bank, President Karzai could deliver on his repeated pledges to root out corruption.

Mt Fitrat attended primary school in northern Badakhshan province and secondary school in Kabul.

He holds a degree in economics from the International Islamic University in Pakistan and a masters degree in social and applied economics - with an emphasis on monetary economics - from the Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

During Afghanistan's many years of conflict he spent much of his time outside the country.

Throughout his career he kept up close links with the US - where he has residency - serving as an economic consultant to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington in the late 1990s.

He worked for First Union National Bank in Northern Virginia from 2000-2001 and later was an advisor to the World Bank.

His banking experience abroad and his familiarity with Afghanistan made him a popular choice both domestically and internationally to take over the governorship of the central bank in 2007.

In April Mr Fitrat appeared before parliament and named Mahmoud Karzai - the brother of President Karzai and Haji Haseen Fahim - the brother of Vice-President Qasim Fahim - in connection with the scandal.

Both men - who were shareholders in the bank - deny the charges and insist they were being targeted because of their positions.

There is no evidence of a direct link between his decision to name these two men and his subsequent resignation.

But foreign officials say there is no doubt that in recent months Mr Fitrat upset some powerful vested interests.

One foreign official who worked closely with him described the former governor as a dedicated professional, a technocrat whose only fault was his persistent drive to expose people who wielded considerably more power than him.

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