Iran, Afghanistan, and 'Bags of Cash'

Monday, October 25, 2010

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with President Barak Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, May 12, 2010. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty)

"They do give us bags of money. Yes, yes they do. It’s all the same. So let’s not make this an issue," Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted today, confirming a report in Saturday's New York Times revealing that Iran supplies a top Karzai aide with bags of cash.

The Times alleged that the Iranian government funneled between $1 million and $2 million to Karzai's chief-of-staff, Umar Daudzai, in plastic bags every other month. The story quoted a NATO official as saying that Iran is aggressively trying to undermine U.S. influence in Afghanistan.

Karzai has defended the money as a necessity, and called upon Afghan media outlets to "defame The New York Times as they have defamed us." The story is the latest in a long line of incidents calling into question the loyalty and stability of the Karzai government as a partner for U.S. the Afghanistan war.

Peter Galbraith, former United Nations deputy envoy to Afghanistan, is intimately familiar with Karzai and the corruption in his government. He joins the program for his take on this latest development.

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