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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Karzai's brother paid by the CIA

I don't find it particularly surprising that Karzai's brother is receiving checks from the CIA. He's a powerful man in some difficult areas in S. Afghanistan. The US gives checks to lots of folks down there, and the description of the "services" doesn't sound all that unusual. What I find really curious is why "current and former American officials" felt the need to make his CIA association public right now.

The NYTimes indirectly frames the release as part of the debate over Afghan strategy, so is it that simple? Is this a few "rogues" disagreeing with the with the payments to a fairly dirty Walid Karzai? Anybody inside enough to know about this, would also have to know the complicating impacts of dropping this undermining bombshell into the runoff election, so I find it almost impossible to believe that this release is just about Walid.

Could this be about the overall payments program, and the CIA's ties to drug lords, using Walid as an attention getting name? I find that hard to believe as, again, the election impacts are fairly predictable and the release happened timed to the election.

Which leaves me with the conclusion that despite all the rationalizations offered by the NYTimes, the releasers are specifically trying to damage Hamid Karzai in the Presidential runoff.

So, I guess the next question is who are "current and former American officials?" Is this "rogues" truly unhappy with the US tied to Hamid Karzai? (This would be a career ending release if you were caught.) Or maybe this is from Bush favoring folks who are losing the internal US strategic debate? (Don't read "former officials" as necessarily previous administration. "Former officials" often serve as mouthpiece for current employees who can't speak against policy.)

Or, is this release authorized by the top US levels, a real and directed effort to undermine and potentially abandon Hamid Karzai, released through lower levels to allow top level distance? (It is interesting that this comes only after they got Karzai inextricably roped into a runoff.)

In the end, I don't know the who or why at this point, but the political and strategic goal of damaging President Karzai seems pretty clear. This is a big and important, intentional impact story. I just wish I had more context of who planted it so I had a better sense of what it implicates in the US Afganistan strategy debate.

(Walid Karzai, like so many regional/tribal/criminal powerhouses has been receiving payments for 8 years, and it just comes out now? Maybe it's an effort to force President Karzai to distance himself from his brother and other criminal folks, to force him to "clean government?")

Also today, (AP) Gunman stormed a UN residential compound in the heart of Kabul killing 12 "in the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month's presidential runoff election."


  • You're starting to think like an Afghan. No doubt Walid is making money all over the place. It's business as usual. Will it affect the election result? Will it matter?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 AM  

  • That's a good question. I mean, the Afghans expect their politicians to be corrupt at this point, but it's my hunch that tying Walid to the US is a very intentional move. (That's why you place it in the NYTimes.)I don't see a way this is done not to damage KArzai.

    I don't know anything about Abdullah or his backing factions, but for some reason I feel this was an "authorized leak" to maybe try to change horses.

    Adding that Dexter Filkins is the NYTimes' CIA/intelligence reporter.)

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:12 AM  

  • I sure it was placed deliberately. But why. To undermine Karzai? It only makes sense if they have a replacement in mind. Abdullah may not be the ideal puppet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 AM  

  • Yeah. I don't know. I couldn't get a clear read either. That's why I wrote the long post.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 3:19 PM  

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