Afghanistan: Karzai confirms receiving CIA 'secret' cash payments

Afghan President Hamid Karzai shakes hands with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki, Finland on April 29, 2013.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed a New York Times report that his office received monthly payments from the Central Intelligence Agency over the past 10 years.

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.

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