Washington Secrets

Karzai lectures Menendez over U.S. 'corruption' of Afghans

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Two political figures caught up in corruption scandals--New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Afghan President Hamid Karzai--huddled in Kabul Tuesday to talk about U.S. corruption in handing out contracts in the war-torn nation.

"President Karzai said that Afghanistan needs earnest and sincere cooperation of the international community, particularly of the United States, in its fight against corruption," said Karzai's office Tuesday.

"The president called awarding of contracts to relatives and affiliates of Afghan senior officials, a major source of corruption, underscoring that the United States should avoid it. He added that contracts awarded to the senior officials' relatives and affiliates would weaken Afghanistan's system, making the anti-corruption campaign more susceptible to problems," added Karzai's website.

The meeting was part of a trip by Menendez to introduce himself as the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez has been dogged with allegations that he intervened to protect a $500 million port security contract for a friend.

Karzai's government has also been hit with corruption charges.

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