Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that his national security team has been receiving payments from the US government for the past 10 years.
Mr Karzai confirmed the payments when he was asked about a story published in The New York Times, which cited high-level Afghan officials saying the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases.
Mr Karzai said the welcome monthly payments were not a “big amount”. He said they were used to give assistance to the wounded and sick, to pay rent for housing and for other “operational” purposes.
The newspaper quotes Khalil Roman, who served as Mr Karzai's deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, as calling the vast CIA payments "ghost money" that "came in secret, and it left in secret." It also quotes unidentified American officials as saying that "the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan."