News / Asia

Karzai Aide Reportedly in Corruption Probe Linked to CIA

An Afghan presidential aide who is under investigation for corruption is on the payroll of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, according to a report published in the New York Times newspaper.

The report quotes unnamed Afghan and U.S. officials as saying Afghan National Security Council official Mohammed Zia Salehi appears to have been receiving CIA money for many years.

It says it is not clear whether Salehi is being paid for information or to advance U.S. views inside the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, or both. There was no immediate comment from Salehi on the allegations.

The New York Times says Salehi's alleged ties to the CIA reflect deep contradictions in U.S. policy on Afghanistan.  It says Washington is demanding that President Karzai root out government corruption while the CIA allegedly subsidizes the officials suspected of perpetrating it.

Afghan police arrested Salehi last month. They said a wiretap caught him soliciting a bribe in exchange for impeding a U.S. investigation of a company suspected of moving money for Afghan leaders, drug traffickers and insurgents. President Karzai intervened in the case, securing Salehi's release after seven hours in prison.

In other developments, Afghan officials say insurgents killed eight Afghan policemen Thursday in raid on a police post in the northern city of Kunduz. They say one policeman survived the attack but was wounded.

Taliban militants traditionally based in southern and eastern Afghanistan have been increasing their attacks on Afghan and international forces in the country's usually peaceful north.

Elsewhere, NATO says one of its reconnaissance drones crashed Thursday in the southern province of Kandahar after losing engine power. NATO says it recovered the drone but could not find the aircraft's camera. It says residents reported that insurgents seized the device.

NATO says the camera had no recording capability and was used only to transmit images.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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