Tags: cia | viagra | afghanistan

CIA Using Viagra to Bribe Afghan Warlords

Friday, 26 Dec 2008 02:17 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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The CIA has developed a novel incentive to gain cooperation and support in Taliban-plagued Afghanistan - handing out libido-enhancing Viagra pills to targeted village patriarchs, according to a report in the Washington Post.

“Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people - whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” said one agency operative with multiple tours in that war torn country.

Standard incentives - such as money, jewelry and cars - are too ostentatious, noted another operative to the Post.

“If you give an asset $1,000, he’ll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone,” said Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan. “Even if he doesn’t get killed, he becomes ineffective as an informant because everyone knows where he got it.”

The key, Smith said, is to find a way to meet the informant’s personal needs in a way that keeps him firmly on your side but leaves little or no visible trace.

“You’re trying to bridge a gap between people living in the 18th century and people coming in from the 21st century,” Smith said, “so you look for those common things in the form of material aid that motivate people everywhere.”

Enter Viagra.

Sexual performance drugs are generally unavailable in the remote areas where the agency’s teams operate. Viagra, however, has been available in Kabul markets for a number of years and enjoys a relatively wide reputation.

“You didn’t hand it out to younger guys, but it could be a silver bullet to make connections to the older ones,” said one retired operative familiar with the drug’s use in Afghanistan.

Not everyone in the deep Afghanistan outback, however, is intimate with the little blue pill. According to the report, this has led to some inspired educational talks with the target - taking pains not to offend their hosts’ religious sensitivities.

But once the ground is broken, the results have been surprising.

One operative told the Post of a very satisfied customer who subsequently “allowed us to do whatever we wanted in his area.”

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