Afghanistan's Karzai tells AP that US cash fed corruption

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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Karzai, whose final years in power were characterized by a cantankerous relationship with the United States, said on Tuesday that Washington used blackmail and corruption to manipulate his officials, undermine his government and foment violence among the country's many factions. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

KABUL – Afghanistan’s former president argued Tuesday that Washington helped fuel corruption in his nation by spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the past two decades without accountability.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Hamid Karzai responded to findings from a trove of newly published documents that successive U.S. administrations misled the public about the war in Afghanistan.

Karzai said the documents, obtained by The Washington Post, confirm his long-running complaints about U.S. spending.

The documents also describe Karzai, Afghanistan’s president for 14 years, as having headed a government that "self-organized into a kleptocracy." Karzai has denied wrongdoing but hasn't denied involvement in corruption by officials in his government.

Karzai became Afghanistan’s president after a 2001 U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government. Thousands of pages of documents recently obtained by the Post portray successive U.S. governments lying about successes and hiding failures. After 18 years and over $1 trillion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money spent on the war, the Taliban are now at their strongest and control or hold sway over half the country.

Karzai said the U.S. spent hundreds of millions of dollars in its war on terror, with the money flowing to contractors and private security firms, and that this fostered corruption.

“What could we do? It was U.S. money coming here and used by them and used for means that did not help Afghanistan,” Karzai said.

He argued that there was no accountability.