The truth behind the incoherence in American policy in Afghanistan is beginning to come out.
Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti, “Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Tied to C.I.A.,” New York Times, August 25, 2010.
Greg Miller and Joshua Partlow, “CIA making secret payments to members of Karzai administration,” August 27, 2010.
While it is not unusual for intelligence agencies to pay informants, the revelations suggest that in Afghanistan such payments have been and are being made to many high-ranking Afghan officials.
This strategy has not worked. These revelations are astounding.
In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, good governance is not possible without law. As the part of the U.S. government that believes in law (the uniformed military, the State Department, the Justice Department) battles the part of the U.S. government that does not believe in law (the CIA, other agencies that do not operate within a framework of respect for law), we are in a stalemate.
This battle is being carried out through the different parts of the U.S. government and the Afghan actors they control or influence. The result is incoherence.
The most telling sentence from the New York Times article is the following: “Mr. Karzai denies any monetary relationship with the C.I.A. and any links to the drug trade.(emphasis added)”
With the government under his control, of course, Karzai would hardly need “a monetary relationship” with the CIA.
Could one element of Karzai’s relationship with the United States perhaps be characterized as “a Noriega-style relationship” with the CIA? It is a possibility worth considering.
Sooner or later, U.S. policymakers are going to notice the elephant in the room, and start taking necessary action. Let’s hope they do so in time.
The Trenchant Observer
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