Citing two Afghan officials, The New York Times reported Sunday how Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan gave Karzai’s chief of staff “a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills ” on a flight in August.
The newspaper said the cash was “part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to … promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace.” Western and Afghan officials allege that “Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors,” the Times said.
When asked about the allegations at a press conference in Kabul on Monday, Karzai said: “We have accepted cash payments from Iranian, large sums. This is normal.”
When asked whether receiving cash was unusual, Karzai added: “The U.S. gives us large bundles of cash as well.