One million dollars of secret CIA money was handed over to pay a ransom brokered between Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda in 2010 to secure the freedom of Afghani diplomat Abdul Khaliq Farahi, according to the New York Times.
The CIA’s $1 million was added to $4 million provided by other countries, and the sum total was delivered to the Afghani government to secure Farahi’s ransom. The Afghani government then turned over the money to Al-Qaeda.
According to the New York Times, the letters state that Al-Qaeda used that money to line their pockets and replace the weapons and other supplies the CIA wiped out during recent drone strikes.
The rest of the money went to families of Al-Qaeda operatives held hostage and to Ayman al-Zawahri, the man who would go on to lead Al-Qaeda after bin Laden was killed, according to the BBC.
Evidence of the CIA payment making its way into the hands of Al-Qaeda was uncovered in letters between Osama bin Laden and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman during the trial of Pakistani operative Abid Naseer in Brooklyn, New York, last month, according to the New York Times report.
Naseer was convicted of conspiring to bomb a shopping center in Briton and of supporting terrorism.
According to the New York Times, Farahi, the diplomat freed in part with U.S. taxpayer money, was supposed to serve as the Afghani ambassador to Pakistan before he was kidnapped in September 2008.
Al-Qaeda held him for two years before Afghanistan paid the ransom and Al-Qaeda freed him. The CIA used money that came from a secret stash they built up over the years in Kabul.
According to an earlier New York Times report, the CIA delivered money every month to the presidential palace of President Hamid Karzai.
According to the New York Times,
“All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
“We called it ‘ghost money,’ said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. ‘It came in secret, and it left in secret.'”
While this is not the first time evidence that the United States is funding terrorism and terrorist groups has been uncovered, this is one of the first reports in recent years that have not automatically been written off as “conspiracy theory.”
The United States has both directly and indirectly given rise to terrorist groups and has funded them in some manner or another for decades. It started when the U.S. began sending “aid” to the mujahidden in the form of weapons and money.
Many say this led directly to the rise of Islamist terrorism and the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, according to Foreign Affairs, by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Some reports claimed the United States and its allies were bankrolling Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups via allies, according to the Washington Times, while former President Bush funded “violent Sunni groups” behind the backs of Congress in 2007, according to Think Progress.
Ironically, Bush’s funding of the Sunnis and the U.S. war with Iraq gave rise to the powers that be in Iran, according to the New Yorker Magazine. The U.S. is still fighting this rise in power three decades later.
The fear of U.S. money getting into the hands of terrorists never went away, even though the reports of such were buried.
Fear of this type of inadvertent bankrolling is why there were misgivings about funding Libyan rebel forces in 2011, as some money went to Al-Qaeda, funding Syrian rebel groups in 2013 for the same reason, and funding Iraq and other Middle East nations in 2014 and 2015, as the U.S. money is funding ISIS.
Although the payments from the CIA to President Karzai were supposed to curry favor with the Afghani government and warlords, the ghost money only served to further fund Afghani corruption.
This included direct funding of Afghani politicians, “many of whom have ties to the drug trade and, in some cases, the Taliban.” These ties interfered with ‘Washington’s exit strategy” from the Afghani war.
As a former Afghani security official said, because the CIA money was delivered in cash, and the payments were not official, the CIA had no control over what the Afghani government spent it on – and still doesn’t, according to the New York Times.