KABUL – The United Nations fired three officials running its $1.4 billion Afghanistan police trust fund as the first step in what is expected to be a broader shake-up at the program currently facing an internal investigation of mismanagement, according to UN and Western officials.
The dismissals mark the first substantive steps in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) investigation of misconduct -- and a possible cover-up -- at the fund that pays the salaries for the 150,000-member police force that is a cornerstone of America's exit strategy in Afghanistan.
Among those removed from their posts, Western officials said, were the trust fund's deputy project manager and its finance officer. A fund administrator also was fired. All those former UN staffers are Afghan citizens.
In a statement on the dismissals, the UN said it has a "zero tolerance" policy on corruption and is committed to running a transparent fund in a country with major security constraints.