$5m including CIA money paid in ransom for Farahi’s release
KABUL (Pajhwok): The administration of former president Hamid Karzai paid $5 million, including $1 million provided by the CIA, in ransom to the Al Qaeda network for an Afghan diplomat’s release, a US newspaper reported on Saturday.
In an effort to secure the release of Abdul Khaliq Farahi, former consul general in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, Afghan officials used a secret fund bankrolled by the CIA with monthly cash deliveries to the Presidential Palace.
The New York Times quoted several Afghan officials, who were involved in the episode, as saying the Karzai government had already withdrawn about $1 million from the fund. The remaining $4 million were provided from other countries.
In June 2010, when the hefty ransom was paid, Al Qaeda general manager Atiyah Abdul Rahman wrote a letter to Osama bin Laden: “God blessed us with a good amount of money this month…”
In response, the Al Qaeda leader called for caution, wary that the US knew about the payment and had tainted the cash with radiation or poison. “There is a possibility that the Americans are aware of the money delivery.”
Osama suggested the cash be converted to another currency, the newspaper said, adding letters about the ransom payment were found in the 2011 raid by US troops who killed the Al Qaeda chief in Pakistan’s garrison town of Abbottabad.
Farahi was kidnapped in 2008 before being handed over to Al Qaeda. The diplomat was freed two years later. The secret fund was used to buy warlords, lawmakers and other influential figures, according to the Times.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.