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CIA Used Bags of Cash to Buy Influence in Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been giving the office of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, secret deliveries of cash for more than a decade, according to an article in The New York Times.

Tens of millions of dollars were delivered in suitcases and backpacks to the office in an effort to buy influence, but it doesn’t seem to have worked.

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.”

As you can imagine, these payments were not subject to any official oversight and were even outside of the CIA’s own assistance program. The bags of cash to the president’s office were part of a larger network of CIA payments to warlords, intelligence agencies and other officials.

Read more in The New York Times.

Image from the UK Parliament.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

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Authors: Andre Francisco

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