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Karzai confirms cash payments from Iran
Kabul, Oct 25 (Agencies):
Published on 25 Oct. 2010 11:41 PM IST
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that his office has received cash from Iran, but insists it was part of a “transparent” process.
Mr Karzai was responding to a report in the New York Times that Tehran had been passing bags stuffed full of cash to Mr Karzai’s aides.
The cash was intended to promote Iran’s interests in Kabul, the report said.
However, Mr Karzai said the money was not for an individual but to help run the president’s office.
Speaking at a news conference, he said many countries had given money to Afghanistan in this way, including the US.
“The government of Iran has been assisting us with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice every year, that is an official aid,” he told reporters, according to the AFP agency.
Mr Karzai said he had spoken to President George W Bush about it when he was in office.
The New York Times report said that last August, at the end of an official visit to Iran by Mr Karzai, a large bag of euro notes had been passed to Mr Karzai’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, by Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Feda Hussein Maliki.
It was part of a “secret, steady stream of Iranian cash to buy the loyalty of Mr Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace”, the report said, citing Afghan and Western officials.
The officials alleged that the payments, totalling millions of dollars, have been used to pay Afghan politicians, tribal elders and even Taliban commanders to secure their loyalty.
On Monday, the Iranian embassy in Kabul strongly denied the report, describing the claims as “ridiculous and insulting”.
“Such baseless speculations are being spread by some Western media outlets in order to confuse public opinion and damage the strong ties between the governments and nations of the Islamic republics of Afghanistan and Iran,” a statement said.

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