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CIA’s Afghanistan Bribes Under Scrutiny

Empires are run using carrot and stick policies. The American Empire is no different. In Afghanistan the Taliban’s refusal to comply has gotten them the stick – drones, special forces teams, and all manner of things as punishment. President Karzai for acting as a U.S. puppet, has gotten some nice carrots. And like everything else in Afghanistan, you paid for it.

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

Apparently making him president and allowing his brother to be a heroin dealer was not enough as the difficulty with the carrot approach is you may not be the only one offering them. And corruption is by nature disloyal and opportunistic.

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.

American and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the agency’s main goal in providing the cash has been to maintain access to Mr. Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the agency’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government. The officials spoke about the money only on the condition of anonymity.

Bribes to maintain access to a politician that is only alive because you are protecting him? Priceless.

Meanwhile the Taliban has launched this year’s spring offensive killing Afghan government soldiers and police. As the war season heats up there is sure to be more killings, including more Americans. I’m sure the families of the fallen will be comforted to know that the man at the top in Afghanistan needed to be paid off in order to let this senseless war continue.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.