Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Iran's cash to Kabul worries US

Hamid Karzai said the cash was used to maintain the presidential palace and run his office

The US has voiced concern about Iran's "negative influence" on Afghanistan, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted receiving cash from Tehran. White House spokesman Bill Burton urged Iran to play a more positive role. Mr Karzai has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cash was part of a "transparent" process to help to run the president's office. He was responding to a report that Iran had been passing bags stuffed full of cash to his aides. Mr Burton told reporters that the American people and the global community had "every reason" to be concerned about Iran trying to have a "negative influence" on Afghanistan. "[Iranian officials] have a responsibility just like all their neighbours to try to have a positive influence on the formation of a government there, and to ensure that Afghanistan is not a country where terrorists can find safe harbour, or where attacks can be planned on their soil." The White House spokesman added that Barack Obama's administration had seen the reports about Iran's payments, but declined to give any further details. 

His comments come just hours after Mr Karzai admitted that his chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, had received cash. "The government of Iran has been assisting us with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice every year, that is an official aid," he said. He said he had discussed the issue with former US President George W Bush. "This is nothing hidden. We are grateful for the Iranian help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing, they're providing cash to some of our offices."


Post a Comment