This is proof not that the Iranians are playing a double game, but that the Afghan Karzai government is. The Iranians are paying the Taliban, also. An update on this story. “Iran says it funds Afghan government,” from AP, October 26 (thanks to Maxwell):
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran acknowledged Tuesday that it has been sending funds to neighboring Afghanistan for years, saying the money was intended to aid reconstruction of the embattled country.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him “bags of money” too because his office lacks funds. U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan – wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces.
“Iran has provided the country with plenty of help,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in his weekly news briefing in Tehran. “Iran has helped construction of Afghanistan and the preparation of its economic infrastructure and it will pursue it in the future, too.”…
Karzai’s remarks came a day after The New York Times reported that Iran was giving bags of cash to the president’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, to buy his loyalty and promote Iranian interests in Afghanistan. The Times quoted unidentified sources as saying the cash amounted to a slush fund that Karzai and Daudzai had used to pay lawmakers, tribal elders – and even Taliban commanders – to secure their loyalty.
Karzai told reporters Monday that he had instructed Daudzai, a former ambassador to Iran, to accept the money from Tehran.
The Iranian embassy in Afghanistan dismissed the allegations that the Iranian government was making cash payments to Daudzai, calling them “ridiculous and insulting.” The statement, which didn’t mention money that Tehran might be giving to the president’s office, was issued earlier Monday, before Karzai’s comments….