Jeff Stein
Washington Post
Saturday, October 2, 2010

FLASHBACK: NY Times: Afghan Opium Kingpin On CIA Payroll

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half-brother of Afghanistan’s president and boss of the strategically important Kandahar province, has been on the CIA payroll for over a decade, Bob Woodward writes in his new book, “Obama’s Wars.”

By the fall of 2008, Woodward says, “Ahmed Wali Karzai had been on the CIA payroll for years, beginning before 9/11. He had belonged to the CIA’s small network of paid agents and informants inside Afghanistan. In addition, the CIA paid him money through his half-brother, the president.”

Hamid Karzai was plucked from obscurity and installed as president after U.S.-backed Afghan forces chased the Taliban from power following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

There have been many accounts of his brother’s relationship with the CIA over the years, leaving the impression that he is a CIA “agent,” i.e., a controlled asset of the spy agency.

But Woodward’s account of the CIA’s relationship with Karzai, who has also been accused repeatedly — but not charged with — protecting the illicit opium trade, is more nuanced.

Full story here.