TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

CIA gives 'bags of money' to Kabul

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By The Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that his national security team has been receiving payments from the U.S. government for the past 10 years.

Karzai confirmed the payments when he was asked about a story published in The New York Times saying the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags.

During a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, where he was on an official visit, Karzai said the welcome monthly payments were not a “big amount” but were a “small amount,” although he did not disclose the sums. He said they were used to give assistance to the wounded and sick, to pay rent for housing and for other “operational” purposes.

He said the aid has been “very useful, and we are grateful for it.”

The newspaper quotes Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai's deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, as calling the vast CIA payments “ghost money” that “came in secret, and it left in secret.” It quotes unidentified American officials as saying that “the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan.”

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to comment on the report, referring questions to the CIA, which declined comment.

In 2010, Iran acknowledged that it had been sending funds to neighboring Afghanistan for years but said the money was intended to aid reconstruction, not to buy influence in Karzai's office. The Afghan president confirmed he was receiving millions of dollars in cash from Iran and that Washington was giving him “bags of money,” too, because his office lacked funds.

At the time, President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, denied that the government was in “the big bags of cash business,” but former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley had said earlier that some of the American aid to Afghanistan was in cash.

Officials asserted then that the money flowing from Tehran was proof that Iran was playing a double game in Afghanistan — wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and NATO forces. Iran denied that.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Mexico clears way for foreign investors in shale oil drilling
  2. Kidnapping toll in Nigeria jumps to 234
  3. U.S. increases surveillance of N. Korea amidst rumors
  4. On Easter, Syria’s President Assad visits Christian town recaptured from rebels
  5. Sherpas ponder boycott because of Everest avalanche
  6. Syria yields bulk of toxic weapons
  7. Afghan officials say detainment of Taliban commander thwarts peace process
  8. Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  9. First lady’s absence from trip unsettles Japan
  10. Extension for sputtering Mideast talks possible
  11. Toll rises in South Korean ferry tragedy; more of crew held
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.