No one in Afghanistan will be shocked by the allegations that Ahmed Wali Karzai is a drug runner on the CIA payroll, writes Aryn Baker. The accusations are old news, and Aghans have always figured brother Hamid for a US stooge anyway. But it’s probably fairly shocking to Americans, “who are already wondering why they should be sending more soldiers and money to a country whose leadership has rarely proved an adequate partner,” writes Baker in Time.
The CIA doesn’t mind looking the other way when it comes to the indiscretions of its local assets, and Karzai, one of Kandahar’s most powerful men, ought to be quite the asset. But if he’s a major drug trafficker, then the CIA is not-so-indirectly helping pay for an insurgency that’s killing Americans. Besides, if he’s so valuable, then how have the Taliban gained so much strength? Could it be because they’re well-funded—by the drug trade?