Afghanistan: It's what's for dinner. (side dishes include Iran and Pakistan)
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The New York Times broke a story today about Afghan President Hamid Karzai accepting unknown amounts of cash from the CIA.
While it is not apparent what precisely this money is used for, the clandestine nature of the money, as well as the CIA declining to comment, and the lack of congressional or presidential oversight on this type of CIA funding certainly doesn’t lead one to believe that it’s being used for aid or development. (This kind of aid would want to be touted for the PR points it would score for both the Afghan and US Governments.)
As if that wasn’t shady enough:
They asked for the boxes back? Worried about someone following the cookie crumbs I guess.
While I know retro has been VERY in lately, I never thought the CIA would jump on the bandwagon or would have at least waited until it was #TBT (That’s Throwback Thursday for the Twitter uninitiated) for this story to come out. Instead, we’re left wondering why the CIA has decided to take a step back into their Cold War M.O. The scarier thought, of course being that this isn’t some kind of retro movement and they’ve actually been working with a Cold War mentality the entire time.
More intriguing is the fact that in the particular case of Afghanistan, the dark specter of the Soviet Union has been replaced with Iran, who is also using cash to curry influence with Karzai’s government. Of course, with rife complaints of corruption, maybe sinking cash into the pockets of the President isn’t the best way to stabilize Afghanistan. Either way, Iran and the United States will likely continue to ‘make it rain’ on Karzai (The smart money is on the US to be the first to pour champagne on him).
However, Karzai’s public stance has been decidedly anti-American of late. As someone who has done a decent bit of study on CIA operations during the Cold War, I’d advise Karzai to proceed with caution, and read carefully the cases of Patrice Lumumba and Ngo Dinh Diem.
In the meantime, it appears as though the CIA will continue to line Karzai’s pockets, and Karzai seems to be just fine with that.
While some might accuse him of selling out his country, the US will keep lining his pockets as they whisper in his ear: Never mind the bombings, here’s your six figures.