CIA gives 'bags of money' to Kabul
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
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rebels in Ukraine hand over bodies, black box
- Putin’s stance on Ukraine is bad for business, Russian billionaires say
- Chinese lunar rover not dead yet
- China’s role in Afghanistan called mainly commercial
- ‘Explosion of evil’ in Europe against Jews condemned
- Train with Ukraine plane crash bodies leaves rebel town
- Israeli death toll climbs to 25 in Gaza ground offensive
- Cease-fire unravels as Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israel
- Credible probe sought in downing of Malaysian jet
- From nun to AIDS expert, Ukraine crash kills hundreds
- Flights disrupted in Shanghai, fueling speculation