According to a recent analysis, long after the fog of war has lifted from Afghanistan, the Biden administration’s fog keeps American taxpayers from understanding how more than $1 billion granted to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is being used, and U.S. agencies refuse to provide details.
Neither the Treasury Department nor the United States Agency for International Development cooperated with the Special Inspector General’s report regarding the money’s whereabouts.
The United States continues to pump money into Afghanistan — and, if SIGAR(short for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) is true, Americans won’t know how much is being spent on the aftermath of failed nation-building initiatives elsewhere, Task and Purpose’s Jared Keller said.
Inspector General John F. Sopko recognized substantial obstacles to the agency’s work. According to Fox Business, SIGAR, for the first time in its existence, is unable this quarter to give Congress and the American public a comprehensive accounting of this U.S. government spending owing to the noncooperation of numerous U.S. government departments.
In letters to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, US AID Administrator Samantha Power, and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said it was “shocking and maddening” that many of these illicit fund transfers are unaccounted for because the Department withheld information in violation of federal law. According to Gaetz, this level of secrecy is unparalleled.
Fifty-seven times in their quarterly report, SIGAR has declined to level this type of an indictment against the Trump Administration, the Obama Administration, or the Bush Administration, he said.
The Biden administration’s unwillingness to participate in transparency is at an all-time high after the Biden administration left the Taliban with a military and now insists on unreviewed transfers of aid that have already exceeded a billion dollars, he said, adding that the issue will be investigated after Tuesday’s elections. “On the Armed Services Committee, this will be the top of my agenda.”
“The United States remains Afghanistan’s single greatest contributor,” according to the study, having supplied more than $1.1 billion in assistance to sustain the Afghan people since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021.
However, the report stated that SIGAR could not provide Congress and the American public with a comprehensive accounting of this quarter’s U.S. government expenditure because of noncooperation from multiple departments.
In the study, the agencies’ refusal violated Section 1229(h)(5)(A) of the NDAA for FY 2008 (requiring agencies to provide information and assistance upon request) and Section 6(c)(1) of the Inspector General Act of 1978.
According to the report, a State official advised SIGAR that department workers had received an internal directive not to contact or talk to SIGAR without prior permission from State legal counsel.
The report looked into allegations that senior Afghan officials stole monies when the government disintegrated. While SIGAR discovered that some cash was stolen from the presidential palace grounds and placed aboard helicopters, evidence suggests that the quantity did not exceed $1 million and may have been closer to $500,000. The majority of this money was thought to have originated from numerous Afghan government operations budgets regularly administered at the palace,” according to the study.