CIA cash fund used to refill al-Qaeda’s pockets

March 15, 2015 4:28 AM

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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 security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

They first turned to a secret fund that the CIA 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.

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