International

Karzai Administration Official Linked To C.I.A., 'The New York Times' Reports

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai speaks during

'The New York Times' reports one of President Hamid Karzai's aides is on the C.I.A. payroll. Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images

Afghan and U.S. officials tell Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti that Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, who is "at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation," "appears to have been on the [C.I.A.] payroll for many years."

"It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both," Filkins reports.

Here's the key paragraph:

Mr. Salehi's relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.

On her blog, POLITICO's Laura Rozen says "this might explain why Afghan President Hamid Karzai tends to dismiss U.S. complaints about Afghan corruption."

According to The Times, Salehi was arrested by Afghan police last month, after, "investigators say, they wiretapped him soliciting a bribe — in the form of a car for his son — 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."

Mr. Salehi was released seven hours later, after telephoning Mr. Karzai from his jail cell to demand help, officials said, and after Mr. Karzai forcefully intervened on his behalf.

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