Kabul, Oct. 24 (ANI): Iran is alleged to have ensured a steady stream of cash to the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan to promote its interests with the president, the Washington Post and Huffington Post reports.
Last August, for instance, Karzai's personal plane sat on the airport tarmac waiting for a late-running passenger: Iran's ambassador to Afghanistan.
The ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki, finally appeared, taking a seat next to Umar Daudzai, Karzai's chief of staff and his most trusted confidant.
According to an Afghan official on the plane, Maliki handed Daudzai a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills. A second Afghan official confirmed that Daudzai carried home a large bag of cash.
"This is the Iranian money," said an Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Many of us noticed this," he added.
Iran is said to use its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors, officials say.
The payments, which officials say total millions of dollars, form an off-the-books fund that Daudzai and Karzai have used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders and even Taliban commanders to secure their loyalty, the officials said.
"It's basically a presidential slush fund," a Western official in Kabul said of the Iranian-supplied money. (ANI)