U.S. Military Suspends Ban on Afghan Airline

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- The American military on Monday lifted at least for now a recent decision to blacklist one of Afghanistan's main airlines, Kam Air, on suspicion of drug smuggling, and it agreed to share details of its accusations with the Afghan government.

The turnaround came after days of Afghan criticism and what some Western officials described as a disagreement between the military and the American Embassy on the prudence of the ban, which would have forbidden any American military contracts with Kam Air.

The prohibition came to light in news reports last week, and it was an embarrassment after a positive meeting between President Obama and President Hamid Karzai in Washington in which Mr. Karzai stressed the importance of Afghan sovereignty.

According to a statement released late Monday evening by United States Forces-Afghanistan, the military said that senior officials met with senior Afghan officials at the Foreign Ministry on Saturday, explaining the reasons behind the blacklisting and offering information about the company that led to the ban.

In return, the statement said, the Afghan government agreed to investigate Kam Air and take further action, if needed. Afghan officials could not be reached for comment.

The statement noted deference to the Afghan government's sovereignty as one reason that it had lifted the ban.

The United States military does not directly contract with Kam Air, but the lines are somewhat blurry because the military pays for many activities by the Afghan government.

Banning Kam Air from military contracts cast a shadow over the company and posed difficulties for Mr. Karzai's travel plans. He frequently charters Kam Air planes for official visits abroad, but he was forced to make other plans for his current visit in Europe, officials said.

On Monday, he met in London with Prime Minister David Cameron and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan to discuss halting efforts to restart the peace process with the Taliban.

The leaders reaffirmed support for establishing an office in Qatar to aid in talks with Taliban delegates there, and set a six-month deadline for progress, officials said.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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