Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted Monday that his chief of staff had received “bags of money” from Iran but insisted the payment was transparent and a form of aid from a friendly country.
Cash payments “are done by various friendly countries to help the president’s office … this is transparent,” Karzai told a press conference as the White House warned over Iranian influence in Afghanistan.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Karzai’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, received regular cash payments from Iran, a US foe and reportedly trying to expand its influence in the presidential palace in Kabul.
Karzai angrily rejected the reports that the payments were secret.
“This is nothing hidden. We are grateful for Iranian help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing. They’re providing cash to some of our offices,” he said.
Asked if the money came in bags, as reported, he said: “It does give bags of money yes, yes it does … it’s all the same let’s not make this an issue.”