President Hamid Karzai says he takes bags of cash from Iran

Photo of Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos.

“Yes. Your bags of cash have pleased Hamid.” (Photo: CC BY-SA/World Economic Forum/Wikipedia)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been called a “puppet president” by some and leader of a corrupt regime by others. According to Associated Press reports, Karzai has admitted he takes money from Iran and the United States – bags of cash, in fact. Some sources suggest that this anticlimactic revelation begs the question of whether Iran and the U.S. are getting what they paid for.

Hamid Karzai takes money for ‘official presidential expenses’

Reports indicate that Hamid Karzai accepts “donations” from Iran once or twice per year, in the amount of $700,000 to $975,000 per gift. Karzai said that the U.S. government has known about this Iranian assistance for years and that Washington also sends the Afghan palace “bags of money.” Some speculate Karzai came forward with this information to take the heat off his chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, whom the New York Times recently reported as also accepting money from Iran. The money has allegedly been used to pay off Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and high-ranking Taliban officials.

Karzai takes money from ‘several nations’ because his office lacks revenue

According to the CIA World Factbook, Afghanistan’s economy was in shambles before the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. International assistance has aided recovery, but the nation is still considered poor and “highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture and trade with neighboring countries.” Such is the claim, despite the well-documented facts that Afghanistan is the largest illicit opium and hashish producer on Earth. Karzai’s government has been criticized by the Obama administration for not eradicating the illegal drug trade, but considering that the poppy crops generate a great deal of money, sources indicate that it’s no surprise that Hamid Karzai has been a less-than-eager enforcer.

Afghan polls cited by Today’s Views indicate that Karzai’s public views him as an ineffective ruler. The reason for this, say various sources on Wikipedia, is not what people assume. As Afghanistan’s economy is agriculture-based – and poppies constitute the nation’s number one cash crop – poor farmers are reportedly being forced to feed the drug trade. But the farmers aren’t getting their slice of the pie. Many speculate that this may be because they aren’t the ones sending Hamid Karzai bags of money.

Sources

Associated Press

CIA World Factbook

Today’s Views

Wikipedia

The U.S. “double game”

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