WASHINGTON — In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

They first turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials involved in the episode. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund.

Within weeks, that money and $4 million more provided from other countries was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks.


4 thoughts on “C.I.A. Cash Ended Up in Coffers of Al Qaeda

    • I hear ya, Noel. It’s beyond puzzling. When I was a young man, the world seemed easy to understand even with all its complexity. Life could be perceived through simple dichotomies, good vs bad, right vs wrong, peace vs war. Now, four decades hence, the world seems absurdly incomprehensible despite the experience and “wisdom” provided with my age. At 20, I thought I knew everything. At 60, I am humbled by the shocking realization of what I do not know.


  1. This creates a vicious cycle in which extremists on both sides (Al Queida and DOD/CIA) increase influence and income. Sick.

    Remember how during the Bush Sr. invasion of Iraq the Northern Alliance had Saddam Hussein dead to rights and he was rescued by U.S. helicopter to be able to continue scaring U.S. citzens into paying for a bigger defense budget?


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