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They sold themselves cheap...

According to a Washington Times news on 2 Feb., dozens of Afghan warlords were given $200,000 payments and satellite phones to secure their ‘cooperation’ in the American war against the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies

More than 35 local commanders made banking transactions involving identical $200,000 sums late last year, in some cases after meetings with U.S. officials. The transactions totaled more than $7 million and helped prompt a spending spree on four-wheel-drive vehicles in Pakistan.

U.S. recognition of this fact is evident from the decision to offer a reward of $25 million for information leading to the arrest of Osama bin Laden. Among those receiving the payments was Mirza Mohammed Nassery, who defected from the Taliban and served as a commander with the Pir Gilani group in the hotly contested city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

According to his driver, Mr. Nassery last fall made the long trip from Kunduz to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he spent an hour and emerged carrying a large black briefcase.

He then drove to Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan and immediately called his banker, who belongs to a "hawala" based in the city's Chowk Yadgar district. A "hawala" is an underground banking system, common in South Asia, that allows transfers of funds without paperwork.

The banker arrived shortly afterward at Mr. Nassery's house. According to the banker, who discussed the case on the condition he not be identified, Mr. Nassery opened his briefcase and placed $200,000 and a large satellite telephone on the table. Initially hesitant to explain where he got the money, the tribal commander told the banker that American officials had given him the cash in exchange for his cooperation in the drive to topple the Taliban and destroy al Qaeda. Interviews with dozens of moneychangers and hawala operators in Chowk Yadgar, the largest market for currency transfers into Afghanistan, showed that no fewer than 35 tribal commanders, most of them Taliban defectors, either deposited or arranged the transfer of $200,000 sums.
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