Afghan cops turn robbers in brazen bank heist

KUNAR, Afghanistan Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:14am EST

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KUNAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Three Afghan policemen guarding a bank turned robbers, stealing more than $200,000 from a branch in the east of the country, an official said on Saturday.

One of the rogue cops is on the run after his two accomplices were nabbed following Friday's heist. Most of the 12 million afghanis ($222,760) looted from a branch of state-owned Afghanistan Bank in Nuristan province had been recovered, said regional governor Tameem Nooristani.

"Two policemen have been detained with 9.5 million afghanis of the stolen money but the search for the third culprit is ongoing," Nooristani said.

Afghanistan's Western-backed government has promised to make law and order a priority ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014, but discipline is a major problem among a 140,000-strong police force often accused of corruption and human rights abuses.

(Reporting by Mohammad Anwar; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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