The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA’s payroll for much of the past 8 years, a time during which he’s boosted his personal power in a large area of southern Afghanistan—and been linked to the opium trade. Ahmed Wali Karzai denies the claim, made by current and former US officials to the New York Times.
Among the services Karzai provided in return, the sources say, was recruiting a CIA-directed paramilitary force operating around Kandahar. The report runs counter to the US strategy of fostering an elected central government, not encouraging shades of Afghanistan’s warlord past. “If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves,” says a military intelligence official.