-- Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he has received assurances from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Kabul that it will continue delivering cash, as it has for the past decade, to his offices.
"Yes, we received cash from the CIA for the past 10 years. It was very useful, and we are very thankful for this aid," the president said during a news conference Saturday in Kabul. –
Karzai's statements on Saturday appeared to be meant to mollify a growing outcry over the revelation of the CIA payments, which has raised questions about whether the money undercut efforts to quell corruption in Afghanistan.
The United States has previously criticized what officials have described as rampant corruption within the Afghan government.
Nearly three years ago, reports surfaced that the CIA was making payments to a number of Karzai's family members, even as his key adviser and a number of ministers were being investigated for corruption.
In the latest allegation of CIA payments in Afghanistan, the New York Times, which cited unnamed U.S., European and Afghan officials, reported that the cash payments ranged from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. It said the payments were used from everything from payoffs for lawmakers and warlord to paying for "informal negotiations." The report did not say how much money had been provided to Karzai's office.