Tags: Al-Qaida | War on Terrorism | al-qaida | cia | money | afghanistan

New York Times: CIA Money Funded al-Qaida's Defense

By    |   Saturday, 14 Mar 2015 01:22 PM

While CIA drone strikes battered al-Qaida in 2010, at least $1 million that the U.S. spy agency gave the battleground nation's government found its way into the terrorist group's coffers, The New York Times reports Saturday.
 
That is just one example of how the U.S. has been inadvertently financing its foreign enemies through a series of oversight errors and poor financial control that has allowed money to be siphoned off over the last 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times.

Millions of dollars has ended up in the hands of al-Qaida, the Taliban, and the Islamic State (ISIS), the Times report.

For example, in 2010, Afghan officials were struggling to come up with $5 million in ransom money being demanded by al-Qaida in exchange for an Afghan diplomat who was being held hostage.

As it turns out, the Central Intelligence Agency had been sending monthly cash deliveries to the Kabul presidential palace, as the Times reported in 2013, with the Afghan government hiding about $1 million from the money that had been coming in for the CIA's secret fund.

The $1 million, along with $4 million from other countries, was paid to al-Qaida, allowing the terrorists to replenish their coffers after the CIA hit the terrorist organization's upper ranks with a series of drone strikes in Pakistan.

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was cautious about the money, fearing it was a trap set by Americans, who he feared either laced the money with radiation or poison or was tracking the cash.

"It seems a bit strange somewhat because in a country like Afghanistan, usually they would not pay this kind of money to free one of their men,” he wrote in a letter about the ransom payoff.  "Is any of his relatives a big official?"

But the payoff was not a trap, reports The Times, but yet another example of mismanaged money going into the wrong hands.

The letters about the 2010 ransom were discovered during the raid in which bin Laden was killed, and were classified until recently.

The diplomat, Abdul Khaliq Farahi, was kidnapped by Afghan and Pakistani insurgents in September 2008. The insurgents turned him over to al-Qaida, which in turn held him captive for more than two years.

In addition to weapons, the cash was also used to aid families of al Qaida fighters being held prisoner, with some given to Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded bin Laden as the Qaida leader and was identified in the letters under the alias Abu-Muhammad, Mr. Rahman said.

Bin Laden advised changing the money into a different currency, and then exchanging the money again, "in case harmful substances or radiation is put on paper money."

In addition to to the CIA funds, Pakistan contributed about half the ransom to end the affair, with the rest of the money coming from Iran and Persian Gulf states, which like the CIA, had contributed to the Afghan secret fund.

The CIA, though, continued leaving bags of cash at the Afghan presidential palace every month until President Hamid Karzai stepped down last month.

The bags ranged from holding a few hundred thousand dollars to more than a million dollars, reports The Times, and money was used to help buy the loyalty of warlords, legislators and others and help the palace finance its patronage network to secure Karzai.

The money also paid for diplomatic trips, rent payments on guest houses for senior officials and more, the report said.

But since Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani assumed office in September, the cash drops have slowed down, but still have not stopped, said a former Afghan official. But once the money is at the palace, he said, "they can't do a thing about how it gets spent."

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While CIA drone strikes battered al-Qaida in 2010, at least $1 million that the U.S. spy agency gave the battleground nation's government found its way into the terrorist group's coffers, The New York Times reports Saturday.
al-qaida, cia, money, afghanistan
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2015-22-14
Saturday, 14 Mar 2015 01:22 PM
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