Key Karzai Aide Is Linked to CIA

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Karzai. Photo: Getty Images

Afghan and American officials have revealed that an aide to Afghan president Hamid Karzai has been on the payroll of the CIA for many years. This discovery is likely to cast some doubt on the legitimacy of the Obama administration's stated goal of eradicating corruption from Afghanistan’s government. The aide, Mohammed Zia Salehi, is the chief of administration for the National Security Council, and “it is unclear exactly what [he] does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both,” the Times says.

Salehi was arrested in July after investigators wiretapped him soliciting a bribe in exchange for “impeding an American-backed investigation into a company suspected of shipping billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan officials, drug smugglers and insurgents.” He was promptly released after Karzai stepped in, however, which officials said may have been due to the fear he knew about “corrupt dealings” within Karzai’s administration. Both the CIA and Karazi declined to comment in response to inquires from the Times.

Key Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Linked to C.I.A. [NYT]