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Afghan forces botch raid to arrest sex-abuse football chief

Kabul (AFP) – Afghan special forces bungled a night-time raid to arrest the country’s fugitive former football chief, wanted over the sexual abuse of women players, officials said Monday.

Keramuddin Karim was found guilty by global governing body FIFA last year of assaulting several women footballers, with the verdict upheld in July by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Afghan authorities issued an arrest warrant for Karim last year, but he has remained at large.

Late on Sunday, Afghan special forces carried out an “air and ground” operation to arrest Karim in Panjshir province bordering the capital Kabul, where he is believed to be hiding.

But Mansur Onabi, spokesman for the province’s governor, told AFP the was “not coordinated with local officials”.

“The local people clashed with security forces, preventing the operation from succeeding,” he said.

Panjshir deputy governor Mohammad Amin Seddiqi confirmed that an operation had been carried out to arrest Karim.

Five female Afghan players accused Karim of committing sexual assault between 2013 and 2018.

In its judgement upholding the FIFA verdict, the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s panel said Karim had “violated basic human rights and damaged the mental and physical dignity and integrity of young female players”.

“With his appalling acts, he had destroyed not only their careers, but severely damaged their lives,” the CAS statement said.

FIFA delivered its toughest sanction: a life ban and a fine of 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million, 934,000 euros).

Karim has previously denounced the accusations as part of a “conspiracy” that had no evidence.

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