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.
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.”
MI6 officials have acknowledged that the organisation has made direct cash payments to their Afghan counterparts periodically over the 12 years Britain has been at war in Afghanistan.
MPs expressed concern that by simply handing over so-called “ghost money” to President Karzai and his lieutenants, British spies could not be sure that the money would not be lost to corruption.
Adam Holloway, a Conservative MP and member of the Defence Select Committee, warned that they could not be trusted even if the payments could be justified on the grounds that Taliban and other insurgents must be rewarded if they give up the fight against Nato troops.
The revelation that Mr Karzai’s office is awash with cash from his allies has caused a furore in the Afghan parliament where Mr Karzai’s government has faced a barrage of corruption allegations.
“Accepting such money is a big insult to Afghanistan. All those who accepted the cash payments have betrayed the nation,” said Hidayatullah Rihaee, an MP from Bamyan province.
But Mr Karzai said the cash flow was vital to his grip on power and said he had begged the CIA station chief to continue making payments despite US political criticism.
Hmmm…where have we heard this before? The storyline seems oh so familiar…wait, I know:
The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America. However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations ‘liability’ for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked.
And like Noriega, you’ll notice that Karzai has nothing to eradicate the
poppy fields drug trade that ostensibly results in the U.S. spending billions on our failed War On Drugs.
Also like Noriega, one expects that Karzai’s posse is diligently keeping track of every U. S. dollar and British pound sterling, right? After all, one would hate to discover that all that dough is being siphoned off by the Pashtun version of the Crips n’ the Bloods.
Though you know it is.
Kabul will take a dive less than two weeks after we leave. Karzai will conveniently reappear somewhere on the Continent when that happens, taking up residence in one of those ubiquitous ‘compounds’ strongmen, thieves and cowards so love.
He’ll issue press statements.
And the cash will have disappeared.
Jesus Fucking Christ On A Crutch, what the fuck are we still doing in Afghanistan?