Alongside CIA, British spies also bankrolling Afghan government
May 6, 2013 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
British officials have publicly admitted that senior members of the Afghan government receive “direct cash payments” from London on a regular basis. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the funds have been delivered to Afghan cabinet members “periodically” ever since 2001, when British troops entered Afghanistan alongside their American colleagues. The revelation comes only a week after the publication of a New York Times exposé, which disclosed that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had delivered “tens of millions of dollars [in] off-the-books cash” to Afghanistan’s governing elite. The newspaper added that there was little evidence that such bribes had helped promote Washington’s interests in the country in any substantial way. According to British officials, London has channeled “a smaller fraction” of the amount paid by the CIA. The British funds are delivered to senior members of the government of Hamid Karzai by MI6, Britain’s foremost external intelligence agency. The funds are then allegedly spent on what Afghan government officials call “special projects”, implying that they are used as bribes to pacify local warlords, many of which are ethnic Pasthuns and belong to the Taliban. Last week, following The New York Times revelations, Mr. Karzai told the loya jirga —Afghanistan’s grand assembly— that there was “nothing unusual” about the CIA funneling money to his government. He added that he had implored the CIA’s Station Chief in Afghan capital Kabul to continue making regular payments despite popular concern in the US, as the funds were vital to the stability of the government: “we really need it”, he said. In Britain, meanwhile, some politicians expressed reservations about the wisdom of public funds ending up in Afghan government coffers. Many expressed skepticism about whether the bags of cash from London effectively contributed to the widespread corruption that plagues Afghanistan’s governing elites. One Conservative parliamentarian, Adam Holloway, who is a member of the British House of Commons’ Select Committee on Defence, told The Telegraph that there was “plenty of evidence that Karzai and his clique do not have an interest in a peace settlement but instead have an interest in continuing the conflict” with the Taliban, in order to continue to enrich themselves with Western-supplied money.