The CIA's man in Kabul

Karzai aide accused of corruption is on the agency's payroll

Well this is awkward. It turns out that Mohammed Zia Salehi, the key aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a principal figure in a corruption investigation, has been working for the CIA for years. “It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both,” reports the New York Times today. He was arrested by the Afghan police after they allegedly wiretapped him soliciting a car for his son in exchange for impeding an American-backed investigation into a company suspected of shipping billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan officials, drug smugglers and insurgents. Big deal, some might say. Salehi would hardly be the first spy with a dodgy personal narrative. But as the Times nicely spells out, it’s problematic for a certain U.S. President who bangs on about how the Karzai government needs to root out corruption before the country can stand on its own. Hard to do, one imagines, when those suspected of corruption are being subsidized by Uncle Sam.

New York Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.