Foreign Policy

The Afghanistan Government is Brought to You in Part by the CIA

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The Washington Post reports on how–allegedly because they don't trust the Big Man Karzai himself to know what's going on–the CIA has members of his administration on the payroll. While I'm sure many non-agency defenders of the value of foreign intelligence would insist that of course that's exactly something they need to be doing, the CIA itself denies it to the Post. Details from the story:

The CIA has continued the payments despite concerns that it is backing corrupt officials and undermining efforts to wean Afghans' dependence on secret sources of income and graft….

A former agency official said the payments were necessary because "the head of state is not going to tell you everything" and because Karzai often seems unaware of moves that members of his own government make.

….Even as agency dollars flow in, U.S.-backed investigative units are targeting prominent Afghans in the government and trying to stem an exodus of more than $1 billion in cash annually from the country….

The agency's approach has drawn criticism from others in the U.S. government, who accuse the CIA of contributing to an atmosphere in which Afghans are conditioned to extend their hands for secret payments in almost every transaction.

"They'll pay whoever they think can help them," the U.S. official said. "That has been the CIA attitude since 2001."

We broke it, we bought it, we bought it, we broke it, causation can get so tricky with warfare and tradecraft. Just remember, whatever fair or foul comes from the Afghan government, you paid for it!

NEXT: CBO Knows?

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  1. We broke it, we bought it, we bought it, we broke it, causation can get so tricky with warfare and tradecraft. Just remember, whatever fair or foul comes from the Afghan government, you paid for it!

    This being Afghanistan, I wonder what it could possibly look like fixed.

    Suddenly, I get a vision of healthy, glowing, ruddy cheeked milk maids, tractors, farm collectives.

    One of the few places on the planet where a Soviet government would have been an improvement.

    1. “”One of the few places on the planet where a Soviet government would have been an improvement.””

      In hindsight, we shouldn’t have interfered. We should have let Russia take it.

      Maybe OBL would have spent his time going after the Russians instead of us.

  2. To be fair to Afghanistan, didn’t we have a large chunk of the Japanese LDP on the US gov’s payroll for decades after WW2? This is hardly a recent or limited phenomenon.

    1. The difference being that corruption in post-WW2 Japan wasn’t a major cause of instability and we weren’t paying people who were obviously corrupt.

      1. I’ll give you “Japan wasn’t unstable” but how the heck is “getting tons of money from secretive agencies in different countries” not corruption? Plus, how familiar are you with the Japanese political and economic system? There’s quite a bit that went on over the past 50 years that could be accurately described as corruption.

  3. Karzai was on the teevee, the other day, talking about government corruption. His message unscrambled itself in my head as “I’m opposed to any corruption which I do not get a cut of.”

  4. And just wait until all these CIA stooges’ underfunded pension obligations come due!

  5. Well I’m sure that everything the CIA does is good for us. Our media also informs us of everything important about the CIA, only a conspiracy nut would think otherwise.

  6. Depending on what the CIA is paying them, this might be cheaper intelligence gathering than paying Americans.

    Outsourcing!

  7. Don’t worry. The CIA makes so much off the Opium trade, the bribes won’t bankrupt them.

  8. In other obvious news, the sky is blue.

  9. trying to stem an exodus of more than $1 billion in cash annually from the country….

    So this made me think maybe we need some of this on the home front, cause it’s gotta be Carl-Sagan billions and billions walking out the door here, and it’s our own pols…

    Wait a minute…

  10. The other night the news was saying how the numbers of soldiers in Afghani units army had and new comers was swelling past the numbers the Taliban has on its side. Then they said the reason for this is that the US and Afghans just recently began paying more than the Taliban.

    How will anything ever work out if the soldiers are not fighting for anything of priciple but just a pay check? If the army will switch sides for a few dollars more what makes anyone think they will stay when the Taliban coughs up more money?

    Then you have Karzi not going after corruption and the US financing it all to boot.

    I mean really what the fuck could possibly go wrong. After all the Teleprompter in Chief is on the job, er vacation or something. Never you worry he is the smartest man in the world, just ask him!

  11. I wonder how many innocent Afghans and/or U.S. soldiers have died because of the machinations of these corrupt officials, and if they keep doing it because the CIA protects them on the ground that they’re an “important asset”.

    1. The CIA really isn’t very involved in this war and they would never protect a asset that was a bad guy. You are a conspiracy nut.

  12. No sweat. The Firm has Annie and Auggie on board now. They’ll straighten out all these inconvenient distractions.

  13. Powell’s “Pottery Barn Doctrine” stemmed from his days of collaborating with Tenet (Master of Int’l Affairs, Columbia U., whose forthcoming rom-com novel “My Big Fat Greek Black-Ops” may finally put some of the Amb. Joe C. Wilson IV controversy to rest). This report contains nothing new. The perfidy of Karzai’s nepotist stooges is so trite it can be read in the NY Times. There is no mention of the subalterns’ quiet war to recover the vast lithium deposits necessary to make the Chevy Volt profitable (POTUS himself having been a former Company Man back in Jakarta)–as usual. Nothing to see here. Move along

    1. Pottery Barn doesn’t charge you if you walk into the store and step on the broken pieces of a vase that someone else dropped (the Afghan people).

  14. Maybe OBL would have spent his time going after the Russians instead of us.

  15. You are a conspiracy nut.

  16. It was broke long before we got there moron.

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