Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday admitted to taking money from Iran in response to a story by the New York Times.
The Times reported Tehran gave cash to Karzai’s aides to promote Iranian interests in Afghanistan and to buy the loyalty of tribal elders, politicians and Taliban commanders.
Iranian diplomats dismissed the story as “ridiculous and insulting.”
Karzai said the payments were made but insisted they were spent on running his office.
“The government of Iran has been assisting us with 500,000 or 600,000 or 700,000 euros once or twice every year,” he told reporters in Kabul.
“The cash payments are done by various friendly countries to help the presidential office and to help dispense assistance… in various ways to the employees around here, to people outside, and this is transparent.”
Karzai then launched a tirade at foreign security firms working in Afghanistan, accusing them of being behind terror attacks.
“These private security firms have caused insecurity and they’ve caused infringement of people’s rights,” he said.
“In fact we don’t yet know how many of these blasts are by Taliban and how many are carried out by them,” he said.
He reiterated his goal of disbanding their Afghan operations by the end of the year.
Private security firms in Afghanistan are used to provide protection for US and NATO forces, NGOs, diplomats and foreign media.