Family Affair

Karzai's Brother on CIA Payroll

Looks like the feds are keeping it in the family in Afghanistan: The New York Times reports that Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, has been on the CIA payroll for the past eight years, according to current and former U.S. officials. Ahmed, who some say may have had a hand in the Afghan election fraud, helps recruit for the Kandahar Strike Force, an Afghan paramilitary force that operates under CIA direction. The strike force is said to counter suspected insurgents and terrorists. Officials also say that Ahmed acts as a go-between for the U.S. and the Taliban. Such a dubious relationship undermines America's push to develop a stable and independent central Afghan governing body. Critics also say that America's ties with Ahmed bolster the Taliban's arguments that President Hamid Karzai is simply a puppet of the U.S. government. Ahmed, who is also suspected of playing a major role in the country's opium trade, has denied receiving any such payments from the CIA, and a CIA spokesperson also declined to comment on the story.