Saturday, October 23, 2010

Iran funnels millions to Afghan Pols, while Obama cedes Afghanistan's future to Iran

As the President blindly and desperately gropes for an exit strategy in Afghanistan - in an effort to solidify his left-wing base before the onset of the 2012 Presidential campaign - even going so far as to allow Iranian officials to attend in-depth briefings by American military commanders on NATO’s strategy for transition in Afghanistan - the Iranian government is conducting an aggressive [financial] campaign inside Afghanistan to undermine the US and NATO mission and to gain influence inside the country, according to Afghan and Western officials.

Although the U.S. State Dept., American military commanders and Afghan officials have already attested to the fact that Iran is training and arming Taliban fighters, the latest reports - from the Boston Globe - indicate that Iran is also funneling cash into Afghanistan's Presidential coffers to advance its own interests and facilitate its global agenda:
One evening last August, as President Hamid Karzai wrapped up an official visit to Iran, his personal plane sat on the airport tarmac, waiting for a late-running passenger: Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

The ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki, finally appeared, taking a seat next to Umar Daudzai, Karzai’s chief of staff and his most trusted confidant. According to an Afghan official on the plane, Maliki handed Daudzai a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills. A second Afghan official confirmed that Daudzai carried home a large bag of cash.

"This is the Iranian money,’’ said an Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Many of us noticed this.’’

The bag of money was part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace, according to Afghan and Western officials here. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their US and NATO benefactors, they said.

The payments, which officials said total millions of dollars, form an off-the-books fund that Daudzai and Karzai have used to pay Afghan lawmakers, tribal elders, and even Taliban commanders to secure their allegiance, the officials said.

“It’s a basically a presidential slush fund,’’ a Western official in Kabul said of the Iranian-supplied money. “Daudzai’s mission is to advance Iranian interests.’'...

Daudzai and Karzai declined to respond to written questions about their relationship with Iran....

The Iranian payments are intended to secure the allegiance of Daudzai, a former ambassador to Iran who consistently pushes an anti-Western line on Karzai, the officials said. Daudzai briefs Karzai each morning....

The payments to Daudzai illustrate the degree to which the Iranian government has penetrated Karzai’s inner circle...

A senior NATO officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss whether Daudzai was receiving money from Iran. But he said the Iranian government was conducting an aggressive campaign inside Afghanistan to undermine the US and NATO mission and to gain influence in politics.

The NATO officer said Iran’s intelligence agencies were playing both sides of the conflict, providing financing, weapons, and training to the Taliban. Iranian agents also financed the political campaigns of several Afghans who ran in last month’s parliamentary election, the NATO officer said.
Nevertheless, President Obama seems intent on having Iran dictate Afghanistan's future, which is why Iranian officials were permitted to attend a meeting with the US and NATO-dominated International Contact Group last week on the future of Afghanistan, and why Iranian officials were permitted to attend Gen. Petraeus' in-depth briefing on NATO’s strategy for transition in Afghanistan.

Obama's Afghan/Iran strategy may seem a bit confusing to the casual observer, but it is, nonetheless, consistent with his far-left ideology and pacifist foreign policy - and more importantly, it will help him retain the extreme left-wing base that got him elected in '08.

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