News24

CIA pays Afghan officials - report

2010-08-27 22:37

Washington - The CIA has multiple members of the Afghan government on its payroll in order to help it keep track of various factions within the Afghan government, according to a former US official.

This individual confirmed to The Associated Press reports that the agency has used payments to cultivate intelligence sources across the Afghan government, a practice that has raised concerns at a time when the United States is pressing Afghan officials to make the government less corrupt.

The New York Times reported the agency is paying Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for Afghanistan's National Security Council, for information. The Washington Post also had the report on Friday.

President Hamid Karzai's government has accused Salehi of accepting a car in exchange for his help in exerting pressure on Afghan officials to ease off in another corruption case.

The United States has said it views Salehi's arrest as a test case of Karzai's willingness to battle corruption in his government. The revelation that Salehi also has received payments from the US spy agency demonstrates the complex relationship Washington has developed with the Afghan government.

George Little, spokesperson for the CIA, would neither confirm nor deny the report. He said speculation about such matters was dangerous.

"This agency - acting in strict accord with American law - plays an essential role in promoting our nation's goals in Afghanistan, including security and stability," he said. "Speculation about who may help us achieve that is both dangerous and counter-productive."