If you want to make million-dollar bribes sound good, come straight out and admit the fact and then say it's all perfectly okay.
The Top Dog in the criminal enterprise we call the government of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai himself, says sure he gets bags full of cash from Iran. A million dollars a shot. Twice a year, maybe more, who's counting? Sure the money's paid right to his office. And what is the money for?
"They have asked for good relations in return, and for lots of other things in return,”says wily Hamid.
And what exactly does Hamid do with the loot? He says it all goes, “to help the presidential office and to help dispense assistance in various ways to the employees here and to people outside.”
And just what is wrong with that? After all, he quickly retorts, the Americans have been sending him bags of cash for a long time. The Americans, "give us bags of money. Yes, yes they do. It's all the same. So let's not make this an issue."
Silly me. All this time I thought Afghan bosses got all the cash they needed from the narcotics trade. Somewhere, in some little offshore tax haven, there are probably a bundle of discrete accounts growing steadily larger by the month as highly placed Afghans wait for the day their western enforcers get fed up and leave. I'll bet that Hamid and his brother, Ahmed, won't be waiting to hop the last plane out either.