Kabul, Afghanistan Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him “bags of money” too because his office lacks funds.
U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan — wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces.
The United States has itself used cash as a weapon in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq — from local development projects to win public support, to salaries for Iraqi insurgents who switched sides.
Karzai said that once or twice a year, Iran gives his office $700,000 to $975,000 for official presidential expenses.
“It is not hidden,” he said. “We are grateful for the Iranians’ help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices.”
U.S. officials in Washington said both countries have given Afghanistan assistance in cash payments — a widespread practice in a country where few people have bank accounts or credit cards.