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Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed a New York Times report that the CIA sent monthly cash payments to his office over the past decade.
But Karzai told reporters the amounts were “small.”
The Times reported Sunday that the CIA sent “tens of millions of dollars” to Karzai over more than a decade in the hope of influencing Afghanistan’s leader.
The payments were made in “secret” and arrived at Karzai’s office in suitcases, backpacks and even plastic shopping bags.
“Yes, the office of the national security has been receiving support from the United States for the past 10 years,” Karzai told a news conference in Finland during a tour of northern Europe.
“Monthly. Not a big amount. A small amount, which has been used for various purposes.”
The Times reported the CIA hoped the money – a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars the US has spent on the Afghan war – would buy it influence over Karzai and his government.
But an unidentified US official told the newspaper that the payments had simply fueled corruption.
More from GlobalPost: How to stalk elusive truths as a correspondent in Afghanistan
Similar things are happening wherever dictators are in power merchandising war-on-terror and stamping out all opposition and free press and getting paid billions in aid. Pakistan. Egypt. Ethiopia. The latter $31 billions in 21 years and has regressed to a one-party police state with thousands internally displaced persons and thousands more in jail [especially journalists] and where corruption, money-laundering, and diverting aid money to ruling party pet projects have become the norm. You may also want to observe tens of thousands [esp young women] either fleeing the country or being carted away to the Middle East to work as maids under inhuman conditions. Yemen has nearly 80,000, UAE 200,000 and so on.