CIA Gives Tens of Millions to Afghan President

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The CIA has given tens of millions of dollars in cash to Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the last decade.

The New York Times reports the money has come in suitcases, backpacks and even plastic shopping bags. The money is dropped off about once a month in an attempt to buy influence, but there's little evidence it's worked.

The primary purpose of the cash donations was to maintain influence at the presidential palace and access to Karzai's top aides, but it seems the Afghan president takes the cash without the advice.

"We called it 'ghost money," said Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai's deputy chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. "It came in secret and left in secret."

Instead, U.S. officials say the money has led to more corruption and strengthened Afghan warlords. And that's made it harder for the United States to leave Afghanistan.

One official said, "The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States."

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