Alongside CIA, British spies also bankrolling Afghan government

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.

2 Responses to Alongside CIA, British spies also bankrolling Afghan government

  1. “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””

    I refer to my comments concerning heroin hush money at previous intelnews posts and this link (trying not to beat a dead horse)

  2. Chad says:

    Karzai must be a pain to deal with. I understand his need to shore up local support, but it bothers me when he chastises the US and NATO for its policies & actions, then requests more cash in the following sentence. I’m not an expert but I think it’s safe to say his lifestyle would be significantly different(self imposed exile?) if we weren’t in need of a moderately intelligent & well spoken Afghan sometime in late 2001..

    Being curious, I wonder if our people advise him to be critical of the US/NATO for political reasons? I remember reading that he ‘longed’ for the days of George W. Bush. Is that because no accountability was expected in return for the big bags of cash? If not, then why? The administration was more receptive?

    I also can’t help but wonder where Afghanistan would be today if Ahmad Shah Massoud had survived.

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