U.S. remains skeptical of Iran's motives in Afghanistan: spokesman

08:45, October 26, 2010      

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U.S. State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley said on Monday that the United States still remains skeptical of Iran's motives in Afghanistan following reports that the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai regularly received "bags of cash" from Iran.

"We do not question Iran's right to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan, nor do we question Afghanistan's right to accept that assistance," Crowley told reporters.

"But we remain skeptical of Iran's motives, given its history of playing a destabilizing role with its neighbors," he said.

Crowley also admitted that some U.S. assistance has been given to Afghanistan "in the form of cash." He argued that the U.S. concern is not about "the form of support" but "what the assistance is for."

"We hope that Iran will choose to play a constructive role in Afghanistan. But, as we said, we have our doubts," he said.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Karzai's chief of staff, Umer Daudzai, was covertly receiving "bags of cash," totaling millions of U.S. dollars, from Iranian officials. The story said the money is meant to increase Iran's influence in the war-torn country.

In Kabul, Karzai on Monday acknowledged receiving regular cash payments from Iran but insisted that there is nothing to hide. He told reporters that the United States gives cash to some of his offices as well.

Source: Xinhua


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