Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Iran's Cash Support of Karzai: Hardly a Surprise

By Tony Karon

"Only those who have not been paying attention could see any kind of "Gotcha!" moment in reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been receiving bags of cash from Iran. Karzai's response on Monday, Oct. 25, to the New York Times revelations to that effect was, essentially, a shrug: Sure, they give us money; so does the U.S.....

Karzai, in fact, has never made any secret of his close ties with Tehran. He has repeatedly played host to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an honored guest in Kabul, and made a high-profile visit to the Iranian capital last August to showcase the relationship.....

The Islamic Republic actually supported and gave discreet assistance to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 and helped create the Karzai government with the U.S. and other countries at an international conference in Bonn that December. The post-Taliban reconstruction of Afghanistan has seen massive infusions of Iranian aid — and a concomitant increase in influence....."

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