Afghan President Hamid Karzai denies that CIA cash delivered to his office each month was used to buy the support of warlords who could tip the country into another civil war. Karzai insists the cash was used for above-board purposes.

Karzai’s statement comes less than one week after The New York Times alleged that Afghan top officials had been receiving payments from the CIA and that some of those funds were used to bribe warlords into supporting Karzai’s US-backed government, ahead of NATO’s troop withdrawal next year.

While Karzai openly admitted to receiving the cash, he adamantly denied that any of it was used to buy the loyalty of warlords. Instead, he said the money – which was allegedly packed in suitcases, backpacks, and plastic shopping bags – was used for such causes as healthcare and scholarships.

“This money was not given to warlords,” he told a Saturday press conference in Kabul. “The major part of this money was spent on government employees such as our guards…it has been paid to individuals, not movements…we give receipts for all these expenditures to the US government.”

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