By Mirwais Harooni
KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan government arrested a senior general on corruption charges on Monday, a year after he was deployed to crack down on fraud and other shady dealings in restive Helmand province.
Major General Mohammad Moeen Faqeer was detained on charges by the Attorney Generals’ Anti-Corruption Justice Center, defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said in a statement. He did not provide further details.
Faqeer was sent to take command of the Afghan army’s 215th Corps in Helmand in early 2016, after the previous commander became embroiled in questions over improper payments to non-existent "ghost soldiers," and other concerns about the unit’s performance on the battlefield.
At the time, a U.S. military spokesman said the Pentagon was "very, very impressed" with Faqeer, saying "he is personally invested in turning around the 215th Corps."
Less than a year later, however, with little explanation, Faqeer was himself replaced as corps commander in October.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has repeatedly pledged to target corruption in Afghanistan, which is often cited as one of the greatest challenges facing the country.
Ghani has faced criticism as high levels of fraud continue, but new units like the Anti-Corruption Justice Center have slowly begun to target higher-level officials.
(Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Tom Heneghan)