Karzai says CIA promised to continue cash payments
Washington: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he has received assurances from the US Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Kabul that it will continue delivering cash to his offices.
Karzai said they have been receiving cash from the CIA for the past 10 years. He said it was useful, adding that he was thankful the CIA for the aid, reports the CNN.
Karzai said he has requested CIA's chief in Kabul for their continued help, to which he responded positively.
Karzai's comments come after last week's report by The New York Times that the CIA has been dropping off bags full of money every month or so for more than a decade to the offices of the Afghan president .
He said it is not unusual, 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'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 US has previously criticized what officials have described as rampant corruption within the Afghan government.
In the latest allegation of CIA payments in Afghanistan, the New York Times, which cited unnamed US, 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".
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.