Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has long been accused of dealing drugs. Charges, and accusations, have never quite stuck. Nor has American pressure ever been brought to bear in earnest. The New York Times, in an explosive story, provides something of an explanation:
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.
The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.
At this point, everything about the U.S. policy toward the Afghan drug trade — from tolerance to eradication during the Bush administration to an evolving approach to cultivating alternatives — now ought to be questioned. As in questioned in open congressional session. CIA money funds a politically connected drug dealer. Opium funds the Taliban. We are in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. How much CIA money has indirectly funded the Taliban?
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman who brokered Hamid Karzai’s acceptance of the runoff vote, said in a speech yesterday that in his talks with President Karzai, the subject of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s ties to the drug trade came up, and Kerry’s been unable to confirm anything. “I have requested, from our intelligence sources [and] our law enforcement folks, the smoking gun,” Kerry said. “What evidence? [And] nobody has [any] … Nobody’s given me hard-and-fast evidence. So this [accusation] swirls around.”
Wonder why no one has told Kerry anything …