Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of President Hamid Karzai, and suspected to be involved in the opium trade, apparently has been on the CIA payroll for years. These presumed ties raise questions for the American Afghan strategy now under intensive review. And this revelation by the New York Times comes just as secretary of state Hillary Clinton arrives in Islamabad. According to current and former officials, the CIA pays Ahmed Karzai to help recruit Afghan paramilitary forces to operate in cooperation with the CIA around the southern city of Kandahar. In addition to complicating the US ties to the president, the CIA’s alleged ties to his brother seem to indicate the US is not doing all it could to end the Afghan drug trade - a trade that is simultaneously a major source of Taliban revenue. Indicative of divisions among Americans, a senior US military intelligence official said, “If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves.” Ahmed Karzai has said he cooperated with American civilian and military officials, but denied he was part of the drug trade or received CIA funds. More: The New York Times
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