CIA funds found their way into Al Qaeda coffers

March 14, 2015 10:39 PM

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WASHINGTON: In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by al-Qaida. 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 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.

Within weeks, that money and $4 million more provided from other countries was handed over to al-Qaida, replenishing its coffers after a relentless CIA campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network's upper ranks. "God blessed us with a good amount of money this month," Ati...

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