Ahmed Wali Karzai

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Banaras Khan / AFP / Getty

Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, prays with the President's supporters at a gathering in Kandahar on Aug. 16, 2009

Since 2008, Ahmed Wali Karzai has been getting nearly more ink than even his brother, Hamid (Afghanistan's president). Unfortunately, it's for all the wrong reasons. Whispers accusing Ahmed Wali Karzai of corruption are nothing new, and nor are the allegations of his involvement in Afghanistan's drug trade. Allegations about Ahmed Wali Karzai have often featured prominently in complaints of corruption against his brother's government. But the report claiming that Karzai is on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency might be the biggest headline yet. The New York Times alleges that Karzai has been facilitating a CIA-bankrolled Afghan paramilitary force conducting raids on the Taliban around Kandahar. Although Karzai fiercely denies the allegations, the Times report feeds skepticism over the direction of U.S. efforts in the increasingly volatile country.

Fast Facts:
• Born in the southern Afghani city of Karz in 1961. Has a sister and six brothers, including the current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

• has, according to the New York Times, allegedly been paid by the C.I.A. since 2001, to perform tasks including helping grow the Kandahar Strike Force, a U.S.-friendly paramilitary group striking at the Taliban around Kandahar.

• In 2001, lived rent-free in a house owned by Haji Azizullah, a known Afghani trafficker in the international drug trade. Said he could not afford to move and was unaware of the connection.

• Member of the Kandahar Provincial Council, the local governing body for the region, since 2005. Currently the council's chief.

• Openly accused in the Afghani parliament in 2007 of being involved in the international drug trade.

• Was recommended in 2007 for an ambassadorial post abroad by then-U.S. ambassador Ronald Neumann, as a way for President Karzai to avoid political embarrassment.

• Was absent when the offices of the provincial council were bombed by five suicide bombers on April 1, in an attack that killed 13. The offices were previously bombed in Nov. 2008, in an attack that killed six.

• Said he escaped a Taliban assassination attempt on his motorcade in May 2009.

• Claims to have brokered an election truce with the Taliban in Kandahar ahead of the Aug. 2009 presidential election.

• Accused of orchestrating voter fraud in his brother's favor near Kandahar during the presidential election. Opponents suggested Karzai shut down polling places and stuffed ballot boxes in areas where opposition to Hamid Karzai was heavy.

Quotes About:
"It's no secret about Wali Karzai and drugs. A lot of people in the Afghan government are involved in drug trafficking."
U.S. informant Hajji Aman Kheri, alleging Karzai's involvement in the heroin trade (New York Times, Oct. 4, 2008)

"That is complete nonsense. Ahmad Wali was already accused of dealing in drugs. I investigated it thoroughly: naturally, none of it is true."
Hamid Karzai, denying Wali Karzai's involvement in the drug trade (Der Spiegel, May 2008).

"We don't have the kind of hard, direct evidence that you could take to get a criminal indictment. That allows [Hamid] Karzai to say, 'where's your proof?'"
A Bush White House official on the difficulties of trying to get President Karzi to look into his brother Wali Karzai's alleged involvement in the drug trade. (New York Times, Oct. 4, 2008)

"I have requested from our intelligence sources and law enforcement folks the smoking gun, the evidence ... Nobody has (produced it),"
Senator John Kerry on the Karzai allegations. (Reuters, Oct. 26, 2009)

Quotes By:
"I am not a drug dealer, I never was and I never will be. I am a victim of vicious politics."
Denying his involvement in Afghanistan's $4 billion a year drug trade (New York Times, Oct. 4, 2008)

"I don't know anyone under the name of the C.I.A. I have never received any money from any organization. I help, definitely. I help other Americans wherever I can. This is my duty as an Afghan."
Denying his paid involvement with the C.I.A (New York Times, Oct. 27)