‘US offers Viagra to win over Afghan warlords’

CIA agents are offering the potency drug Viagra and other gifts to win over Afghan warlords in the US-led war against Taliban insurgents, the Washington Post reported.

CIA agents are offering the potency drug Viagra and other gifts to win over Afghan warlords in the US-led war against Taliban insurgents, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Paying for information is nothing new for the Central Intelligence Agency, but officers have started employing unusual incentives to persuade Afghan local leaders to share intelligence about the Taliban’s movements, the Post wrote, citing unnamed sources in the spy service.

“Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” one CIA operative who has worked in Afghanistan was quoted as saying.

CIA agents have offered pocket knives and tools, toys and school equipment, travel visas, medical services including surgeries and sometimes the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra for Afghan chieftains, the paper said.

The aging chieftains often have up to four wives and are open to the Viagra pill as a way to “put them back in an authoritative position,” said another official.

More customary bribes such as cash and weapons can create problems, because guns fan fall into the wrong hands and a sudden influx of cash can draw too much attention, agents told the paper.

Four Viagra pills transformed the attitude of one influential 60-year-old warlord who had been wary of the United States.

“He came up to us beaming,” one official told the Post.

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

Tanzania has installed high-speed internet services on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, allowing anyone with a smartphone to tweet, Instagram or WhatsApp their ascent up Africa’s highest mountain. State-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation set up the broadband network on Tuesday at an altitude of 3,720 metres (12,200 feet), with Information Minister Nape Nnauye calling the event historic. He said the summit of the 5,895-metre (19,300-foot) mountain would have internet connectivity by the end of the year.

The 24-year-old man charged with the attempted murder of Salman Rushdie has denied being in contact with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and said that he acted alone when he stabbed the Mumbai-born author, whom he disliked for being “disingenuous”. In a video interview to the New York Post from Chautauqua County Jail, Matar said that “When I heard he survived, I was surprised, I guess.”

A large Canadian parliamentary committee delegation is planning to visit the Chinese-claimed island of Taiwan in October, local media reported on Wednesday, a development that could further worsen relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Eight members of Canada’s House of Commons standing committee on international trade are expected to travel to Taiwan, including many who are members of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group in the parliament, Canadian media reported.

The U.S. government on Thursday announced trade talks with Taiwan in a sign of support for the island democracy China claims as its own territory, prompting a warning by Beijing that it will take action if necessary to “safeguard its sovereignty.” The announcement comes after Beijing fired missiles into the sea to intimidate Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this month became the highest-ranking American official to visit the island in 25 years.

Punjabi is the fourth-most widely spoken language spoken at home in Canada while the number of those using other Indian tongues has risen steeply, according to new data released on Wednesday. Canada’s two official languages, English and French, remain the two spoken most predominantly at home, followed by Mandarin and Punjabi, according to details issued on Wednesday by Statistics Canada (StatCan), the country’s data agency. Other Indian languages are also flourishing in Canada.