Skip to main content

Karzai: CIA promises to continue cash payments

By Qadir Sediqi and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Mon May 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Hamid Karzai said he met with the CIA station chief in Kabul
  • Karzai says the CIA has been delivering cash to his office for 10 years
  • He says he was assured by the CIA that aid will continue

(CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he has received assurances from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Kabul that it will continue delivering cash, as it has for the past decade, to his offices.

"Yes, we received cash from the CIA for the past 10 years. It was very useful, and we are very thankful for this aid," the president said during a news conference Saturday in Kabul.

"Yesterday, I thanked the CIA's chief in Kabul and I requested their continued help, and they promised that they will continue. "

Karzai's comments follow last week's report by The New York Times that the CIA has been dropping off shopping bags full of money every month or so for more than a decade to the offices of the Afghan president.

"This is not unusual," he told reporters, adding that the money was spent by his office and the national security office for a variety of purposes, including paying salaries, helping the war wounded and providing scholarships.

Karzai dismissed questions about why such money, not in state coffers, was needed for what he described as government expenses.

"This is the choice of the American government," he said.

Karzai's statements on Saturday appeared to be meant to mollify a growing outcry over the revelation of the CIA payments, which has raised questions about whether the money undercut efforts to quell corruption in Afghanistan.

The United States has previously criticized what officials have described as rampant corruption within the Afghan government.

Nearly three years ago, reports surfaced that the CIA was making payments to a number of Karzai's family members, even as his key adviser and a number of ministers were being investigated for corruption.

In the latest allegation of CIA payments in Afghanistan, the New York Times, which cited unnamed U.S., European and Afghan officials, reported that the cash payments ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. It said the payments were used from everything from payoffs for lawmakers and warlord to paying for "informal negotiations." The report did not say how much money had been provided to Karzai's office.

As a matter of routine, the CIA does not comment on its operations. The agency did not return a call from CNN seeking comment.

Karzai also disputed claims that his office received cash from MI6, the British intelligence agency.

He acknowledged MI6 gave money to other organizations in Afghanistan, but he did not identify them.

Qadir Sediqi reported from Kabul, Afghanistan; Chelsea J. Carter reported and wrote from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:04 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 9:30 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT