Following up on yesterday’s reports of the CIA’s decade-long project of showing up at Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office every once in awhile with the big sack of money, Karzai has confirmed the practice and provided more details.
Karzai dubbed the money “multipurpose assistance,” adding that it was very useful to just have backpacks and plastic bags full of unassigned cash just lying around the office.
The Afghan president sought to downplay the funding, insisting it was “rather small” in amount, though reports indicate the CIA dropped off tens of millions of dollars over the years. Karzai says the money was used for paying rent and “other objectives.”
Former Afghan officials and current US officials were critical of the practice, since there was zero oversight of where the money went. They also say the practice of having Karzai’s office hand over cash to “facilitate” operations was a big part of enforcing the bribery culture that has become the normal way of doing business across Afghanistan.
Though there is Congressional oversight for the formal CIA aid provided to Afghan spy agencies experts say that the “sacks of cash” neither violates any US laws nor does it oblige the CIA to report anything about who they gave the sacks to, how much cash was in them, or what the money would be used for.
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