Karzai says all's well after run on Kabul Bank

Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai struggled to restore customer confidence after depositors began a run on Kabul Bank, which is the country's biggest bank. Matters precipitated after the country's Central Bank removed the bank's top two executives and assumed charge.

Panic amongst depositors ensued after the president's brother, Mahmoud Karzai, asked for intervention by the United States to prevent a possible financial meltdown.

Mahmoud is a major shareholder in the Kabul Bank.

"Kabul Bank is safe," Hamid Karzai said at a joint news conference in Kabul on Thursday with US defence secretary Robert M Gates. "People need not panic, need not be worried."

Earlier in the day, Mahmoud Karzai had suggested that the US Treasury Department guarantee Kabul Bank, which has a customer base of about a million and more than $1 billion in deposits.

The Kabul Bank primarily handles salary payments for soldiers, police and teachers.