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Afghan president calls for 'holy war' against corruption, says it impedes developing country

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's president called for a "holy war" against corruption Tuesday, one of the major problems facing his war-torn country as he tries to improve its economy and create jobs.

Ashraf Ghani, who has been in power almost a year, described corruption as a "cancerous lesion" threatening the survival of the state.

Speaking at a Kabul high school, he said graft in government contracts, land grabbing and illegal drug production and trafficking are major problems. He said education is key to ending corruption.

Ghani said the government is investing in agriculture as the majority of Afghanistan's people live off the land. Ghani said Afghanistan should be known as an exporter of legitimate products.

Transparency International consistently ranks Afghanistan among the world's most corrupt countries. Most of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile Tuesday, gunmen in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province shot and killed Munawar Shah, a provincial chief military attorney, said Jawed Basharat, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Basharat said the gunmen shot Shah in the head from close range in Puli Khumri, the provincial capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but recently the Taliban have stepped up their attacks on Afghan security forces and government officials across the country.

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