KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday that once or twice a year Iran gives his office $700,000 to $975,000 for official presidential expenses – and that Washington also provides “bags of money” because his office lacks funds.
Karzai’s comments come a day after The New York Times reported that Iran was giving bags of cash to the Afghan president’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, to buy his loyalty and promote Iranian interests in Afghanistan.
The Times quoted unnamed sources as saying that the cash amounted to a slush fund that Karzai and Daudzai had used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders – and even Taliban commanders – to secure their loyalty.
Karzai told reporters Monday that he had instructed Daudzai, a former Afghan ambassador to Iran, to accept the money from Tehran.
“If some Pashtun motherfucker comes walking through the door, I say, hey, it’s all in the game,” Karzai said. “But the New York Times? Hell naw! Because I know I done played ball for the U.S. too many times! Hell naw, ain’t no soul in the world that fuckin’ ungrateful!”
He said several nations have given money to his office – the first being the United Arab Emirates, which provided $1.5 million nine years ago when Afghanistan’s interim government was formed.
“Corruption?” Karzai said. “They gonna come talk to me about corruption? In Afghanistan? Sheeeeee-it. Where do you think I’m gonna raise the money to govern the whole damn country? From goat-herders and shit, from some tiny-ass dirt farmers? You think I got time to ask a man why he’s giving me money or where he gets his money from? I’ll take any motherfucker’s money if he’s giving it away.”
Karzai did not offer details about how the money was spent, saying only that it was used to “help the presidential office” and to “dispense assistance” to certain individuals.
“I know you don’t want to know, but I’m scratching and clawing to get it done for you, Obama,” Karzai said. “For you and me and for the rest of the team. And who comes through that door but the New York Times, looking to get up in my shit about everything.”
A U.S. embassy official told the Associated Press that nobody knew about this, and that President Obama would put the Times straight about getting out of pocket.
Personally, I don’t see what the problem is. The State Department wanted a President who would take foreign money. Isn’t this good news?