Friday, May 3, 2013

(Politics) CIA: CIA “ghost money” at the heart of why progress in Afghanistan is fleeting at best

For a clandestine organization, the CIA mistakes are well documented and way too frequent so there should be no surprise why Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai confirmed reports that the CIA had “given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags”[1].

While comedy is to be found in the fact that a clandestine organization were outed by a man who they a played a role in bringing him into power in the first place , the real joke is Karzai’s explanation of  where the money went as he (with a wink and nod, I presume) said that the funds “were used to give assistance to the wounded and sick, to pay rent for housing and for other "operational" purposes”[2].

It’s needless to say but if Karzai explanation had a kernel of truth, why all the secrecy or not go through the normal channels to give funds? The answer is dead simple, its purposes are less media friendly than aiding the ‘wounded and the sick’. The suspicion of the money funding foul play were instant and were confirmed  in the past  as US officials claimed that  the funds have“has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan"[3].

The real problem at hand is for all its efforts to buy influence, it has instead bought nothing but a hated and even uncooperative Afghan officials who have gone some way to make the country near terminal problems even worse. 

This revelation is part of a larger picture at the heart of why Afghanistan cannot progress as relies on contributions from foreign governments. Bernard Bajolet, France ambassador to Afghanistan, pointed to the heart of Afghanistan’s problems as he observed that Afghanistan are currently helmed by people who have “a lack of faith…in the future of the country”[4] .Bajolet also pointed saw corruption rather than Afghanistan very real security threat as a deterrent of foreign investment which could help the country wean itself off international funds[5].

In sum, the CIA supply of money is not news as simply they are not the only organisation playing the same game. It has bought them nothing but an increasingly obstinate president and a incredibly corruptible Afghan political class who have no real interest in the progress of the country they supposedly represent. All this is why Afghanistan will remain a country in crisis and conflict with problems as the people who can make the changes needed in the country have no faith in its future.    

If you want to find out about the CIA involvement in the Afghanistan and middle east in general, check out Steve coll's epic 'ghost wars' here.

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