The CIA is the biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan

The New York Times reports: For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.

All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing.

Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”

The United States was not alone in delivering cash to the president. Mr. Karzai acknowledged a few years ago that Iran regularly gave bags of cash to one of his top aides.

At the time, in 2010, American officials jumped on the payments as evidence of an aggressive Iranian campaign to buy influence and poison Afghanistan’s relations with the United States. What they did not say was that the C.I.A. was also plying the presidential palace with cash — and unlike the Iranians, it still is. [Continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “The CIA is the biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan

  1. pabelmont

    How much of all this vast supply of greenbacks is kept by the CIA folks themselves? what a wonderful opportunuity for (dare I say it?) corruption. Whenever, as here, the USA devises and implements a system for un-accounted payments (especially in cash), it amounts to a system of corruption-by-design. No wonder the CIA is so powerful.

    And no wonder rich Americans don’t want to pay taxes!

  2. Paul Woodward

    I think it’s time that beyond the world of conspiracy theorists, the concept of a “deep state” acquired more traction when applied to the American political system. Lack of accountability is the sine qua non of the Deep State. In the regular world, every kind of delivery operation has its own system of tracking goods so that trust and good conscience is not the only barrier in front of temptation. The CIA, on the other hand, is supposedly staffed by flawless patriots who would never dream of stuffing a wad of $100 bills into their own pockets. But then again, what are the required skills for being an operative in clandestine services? All the arts of deception — lying, subterfuge, stealth, which is to say, most of the skills of a professional criminal applied in the service of the state. Corruption inside the CIA? It’s unimaginable!

  3. Norman

    Where does all that money come from? Some might say it comes from the sales of the “poppy”. But we all know that the C.I.A.’s hands are clean, aren’t they?

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