NEW YORK Corruption in Afghanistan is 'pervasive at every level of government and society, according to US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks. The cables from the US ambassador in Kabul portray Afghan President Hamid Karzai as paranoid, with an 'inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building. Many of the cables were sent from the US Embassy in Kabul over the last two years. The New York Times, which had advance access to the estimated 250,000 documents leaked to WikiLeaks, reported the documents showed corruptions pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials. One cable from the US mission in Kabul earlier this year noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist. At the same time, Dr Sayed Fatimie, the minister of health, told American diplomats that members of Parliament wanted cash to confirm his appointment. Fatimie said MPs had offered their own votes and the votes of others they could purportedly deliver for $1,000 apiece, a cable said. Another Afghan minister warned US diplomats that Karzai was under great pressure from political leaders to accept a number of ministerial candidates whose technical skills are lacking. The minister argued that these political leaders are only thinking of dividing up the spoils rather than the quality of government needed to tackle Afghanistans problems. The cables make it clear that American officials see the problem as beginning at the top, The New York Times said. An August 2009 report from Kabul complains that President Karzai and his attorney general allowed dangerous individuals to go free or re-enter the battlefield without ever facing an Afghan court. The embassy was particularly concerned that Karzai pardoned five border police officers caught with 124 kilograms of heroin and intervened in a drug case involving the son of a wealthy supporter. The American dilemma is summed up in an October 2009 cable sent by Ambassador Karl W Eikenberry, written after he met with Ahmed Wali Karzai, the presidents half brother, the most powerful man in Kandahar and someone many American officials believe prospers from the drug trade. American officials seem to search in vain for an honest partner. A November 2009 cable described the acting governor of Khost province, Tahir Khan Sabari, as a refreshing change, an effective and trustworthy leader. But Sabari told his American admirers that he did not have the $200,000-300,000 for a bribe necessary to secure the job permanently. Ahmed Zia Massoud held the post of first vice president from 2004 to 2009; the brother of the Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, he was discussed as a future president. Last year, a cable reported, Massoud was caught by customs officials carrying $52 million in unexplained cash into the United Arab Emirates. Some months later, US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry drew up a candid psychological profile of Karzai. In a cable dated July 7, 2009, Eikenberry wrote that one portrait of Karzai that emerged was of a paranoid and weak individual unfamiliar with the basics of nation building and overly self-conscious that his time in the spotlight of glowing reviews from the international community has passed. At the same time, he was an ever-shrewd politician who sees himself as a nationalist hero who can save the country from being divided by the decentralisation-focused agenda of Abdullah [his leading rival for the presidency], other political rivals, neighbouring countries, and the US. Eikenberry concluded, In order to recalibrate our relationship with Karzai, we must deal with and challenge both of these personalities. The following week, Eikenberry reported that the Presidents manner was significantly more relaxed and warm than in meetings the previous week when he was often agitated, accusing the US of working against him. But again, the ambassador warned: His inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state building and his deep seated insecurity as a leader combine to make any admission of fault unlikely, in turn confounding our best efforts to find in Karzai a responsible partner. The cables from Kabul also underline the difficulty in confronting money-laundering of profits from the heroin trade and other criminal enterprises. One from October 2009 claimed that one hawala (informal cash) network is facilitating bribes and other wide-scale illicit cash transfers for corrupt Afghan officials and is providing illicit financial services for narco-traffickers, insurgents, and criminals through an array of front companies in Afghanistan and the UAE. But an investigation of the hawala network proved difficult. One cable reported that Afghanistans interior minister asked that the US take a low profile on the case to avoid the perception that investigations were being carried out at the behest of the United States. In another cable, a senior Afghan official told the US Embassy that of the $200 million collected in fees on truck traffic, just $30 million reached government coffers. And in October 2009, a cable from the US Director of Development said vast amounts of cash come and go from the country on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Before the August 20 election $600 million in banking system withdrawals were reported. More than $190 million in cash had been taken through Kabul Airport to Dubai alone. Agencies add: According to the latest US cables released by the WikiLeaks, US Under Secretary of State Richard Boucher told Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta that Nawaz Sharif harboured extremist views and if he returned to Pakistan, it would be bad for Afghanistan as the former Pakistani prime minister would support Islamists and launch a campaign against President Musharraf and America. The US Under Secretary expressed his fear with the Afghan leaders during a meeting in 2007. According to another leaked memo sent by US Ambassador Anne W Patterson, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was facing strong opposition on the Kerry-Lugar Bill from the corps commanders. DG ISI Gen Shuja Pasha told the US ambassador that the ISI was striving hard to stop all possibilities of attacks on India. He told Patterson a negative reaction was coming from army men and corps commanders on the KLB. He said he was unable to understand why US attached strict conditions with the bill when Pakistan was already making headway in the war against terrorism. Gen Kayani told the US ambassador that he would be under pressure in the meeting of corps commanders to make a statement on Kerry-Lugar Bill. On this, Patterson warned that any negative statement on the bill would have a bad impact on Pak-US relationship. She said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had informed her that parliament would hold a debate on the KLB only for a few days and no voting would be conducted on it. Contrary to this, Gen Kayani was of the view that government would have to face tough situation in the assembly. However, he agreed that no voting would be held in the house. WikiLeaks communiqus also reveal that the US prefers Indian viewpoint to Pakistans stance and doesnt pay any attention to Islamabads concerns regarding New Delhis increasing involvement in Afghanistan,. US special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, had called on Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao in New Delhi on January 28, 2010 and briefed that President Asif Zardaris government was losing its grip and a situation of tension was prevailing among different epicentres there which included COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif. Holbrooke assured Indian foreign secretary that Washington fully backed New Delhis projects in Afghanistan and, doesnt pay attention to Islamabads stance in this regard. He further said that Pakistan was taking Quetta Majlis-e-Shoora as an important policy to defend its interests in Afghanistan. He said the US was facing difficulties in different issues while dealing with Pakistan. He said the US influence on Pakistan had been wrongly judged. Nirupama said India wanted to resume dialogue process with Pakistan but it had been waiting for Islamabads strong action to curb terrorism. The United States has been pushing Saudi Arabia to help stabilise Pakistan and Afghanistan, leaked US diplomatic memos show. The memos released on the WikiLeaks website this week show differences in strategy between Washington and Saudi Arabia. American diplomats have been pressing the kingdom to throw its weight behind President Asif Ali Zardari with financial aid and intelligence help against the Pakistani Taliban and militant groups who have been crossing the border into Afghanistan to battle NATO and Afghan troops. The pressure seems to have brought some grudging progress. But Saudi officials appear wary of aggressive action by the Pakistani military against insurgents in Pakistan, advising instead greater outreach to unruly tribes to rein in militants. At the same time, Foreign Minister Saud told Jones that we must reach out to tribal leaders and separate those we could work with from those we must fight, and warned that the Pakistani military could lose its credibility among tribes if it is used to fight extremists. The Pakistani ambassador to Riyadh, Umar Khan Alisherzai, complained to the Americans that the Saudis perceive Zardari as pro-Iranian and pro-Shia, which made them apprehensive about working with him. We have been punished by Saudi Arabia because our president talks to the Iranians, Alisherzai said, according to an October 2009 memo. Instead, Saudi Arabia has pushed for a greater role for Sharif, who spent years in exile in Saudi Arabia and who has close ties with hard-liners in Pakistan. In 2008, before Zardaris election, Saud touted Sharif as a force for stability able to talk to religious extremists who are not usually open to dialogue, according to another US Embassy memo. As recently as February, the Saudis were promoting Sharif, saying he could play a great role in working with tribal chiefs and arguing that money is better than bullets in the fight against the Taliban, the embassy reported. In March last year, Obamas special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, pressed Saudi officials to work with Zardari, warning that instability could lead to Pakistans nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands. Holbrooke said US-Saudi cooperation on Pakistan needed to rise to a higher level. He urged the kingdom to provide economic assistance to Pakistan and help get Zardari and Sharif to work together, according to an embassy report on his talks with Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a senior counter-terror chief. Nearly a year later, in February, the US Embassy reported some progress, noting close military and intelligence cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and greater economic aid, with Saudi Arabia disbursing at that time half of $700 million it pledged to Pakistan. It also said the kingdom had begun taking action against Saudis who send funding to the Taliban and the Pakistani militant group Laskhar-e-Taiba. Still, it said, the Saudis were frustrated in efforts to reconcile between Sharif and Zardari, complaining that compromise seemed alien to Pakistan politicians. The Saudis generally agree that there is a need to deny terrorists safe havens in Pakistan, but question whether the methods we have outlined will be effective, Ambassador James B Smith wrote. The tumultuous democratic process in Pakistan makes the Saudis nervous, and they appear to be looking for 'another Musharraf: a strong, forceful leader they know they can trust, he added. Powerful United States Senator John Kerry asked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to present before India Pakistans plan of action for fighting terrorism if it was really serious in resuming Indo-Pak dialogue, but the premier expressed concern that the public would not support the idea. Kerry told Gilani that this would be a clear confidence builder that would make India more willing to move forward in talks about Kashmir and water disputes. He emphasised that the future of India, Pakistan and the US depended on their governments willingness to challenge old suspicions and work together and suggested that Pakistan and India sign a non-aggression pact. After getting into power, President Zardari thanked Washington and said, We came into power due to US governments consent and we wont act without consulting with you, according to a US embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks. In a May 2008 meeting with a visiting American congressional delegation, Zardari mentioned late Benazir Bhuttos close relations with US Congress members and emphasised that US officials should visit Pakistan frequently to understand each other. In the meeting, Zardari also termed war on terror being fought by the world that of Pakistans war.