The Washington Post

Karzai’s dig at Menendez?

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

But when new Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) came calling Tuesday in Kabul — his very first stop on his first trip abroad as chairman — Karzai seemed to be trying to tweak Menendez.

Menendez has come under intense fire of late over ties to and favors for a wealthy donor, Salomon Melgen. Menendez had to repay nearly $60,000 to Melgen for flights to the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s private jet. And there have been questions raised about the senator’s support for a Dominican port security contract in which Melgen had an investment.

Menendez has denied any intentional wrongdoing.

After their Kabul meeting, Karzai, whose notoriously corrupt regime has been much criticized by Washington, put out a news release with this headline:

“President Karzai: Fight against corruption requires earnest and sincere cooperation of the international community, particularly of the United States of America.”

Hmmm. Well, at least there won’t be a port security problem in land-locked Afghanistan.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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