CIA Giving Karzai Sacks of 'Ghost Money': Report
It's said to have added up to tens of millions
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2013 1:50 AM CDT
Updated Apr 29, 2013 2:27 PM CDT
The CIA has given Karzai tens of millions of reasons to smile over the last decade or so.   (AP Photo/ Mustafa Quraishi)

(Newser) – While some American officials complain about corruption in Afghanistan, the CIA has been smoothing its relationship with President Hamid Karzai's government by dropping off suitcases, backpacks, and even plastic bags full of cash at his office every month, the New York Times finds. The payments—described as "ghost money" by the leader's former chief of staff—have added up to tens of millions of dollars over more than a decade.

The payments allegedly go toward paying off Afghan lawmakers and assorted warlords, one of whom is believed to receive up to $100,000 a month. Karzai also gets bags of cash from the Iranians, and analysts say the US money is likely serving only to fuel corruption. In the wake of the Times report, Karzai today acknowledged receiving a "small amount" of cash, and even thanked the US for it, saying it was used for "various purposes." House Rep. Jason Chaffetz, whose subcommittee is investigating Afghan corruption, was taken aback. "We’ve all suspected it," he said. "But for President Karzai to admit it out loud brings us into a bizarro world."

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Apr 29, 2013 7:33 AM CDT
Nice democracy...of course we're the model for that.
Apr 29, 2013 7:28 AM CDT
Then Karzai gives that money to the Taliban which funds the drug trade, and the CIA can get its Heroin that I wants to sell in the US and Europe to then fund its black ops.
Apr 29, 2013 7:25 AM CDT
But we have to fire air traffic controllers. We have had two Presidents in a row that absolutely suck. Just 3 1/2 more years to another try.