The US presence in Afghanistan may be largely gone after the botched withdrawal last year– but it’t not forgotten. And there are disturbing findings about some of the money US taxpayers are still spending there.
Ongoing US funding for programs in Afghanistan may benefit the Islamic extremist Taliban that the US spent decades and trillions of dollars fighting.
That’s according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The office, headed by Inspector General John Sopko, is responsible for tracking taxpayer funds spent to rebuild Afghanistan over the decades. Americans spent more than $145 billion over 20 years. Sopko and his team uncovered billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse.
Read the information from SIGAR below.
SIGAR has released its latest evaluation report, Status of U.S. Funding and Activities for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The report, which includes detailed listings, charts and graphs, evaluated the status of U.S. funding for all U.S. agencies and programs in Afghanistan as of October 1, 2021.
— Overall, as of October 1, 2021, the status of U.S. reconstruction funding in Afghanistan totaled about $6.57 billion in obligations, $5.82 billion in disbursements, and about $546 million in unliquidated funds for activities implemented in FY 2021. Opportunities may exist for U.S. agencies to recover some unliquidated funds.
— In April, DOD told SIGAR that it had attempted to take possession of Afghanistan Security Forces Fund monies that were previously provided to the Afghan government. DOD reported that its attempts were unsuccessful due to the collapse of the Afghan banking system.
— Although on-budget assistance ceased on August 15, 2021, SIGAR found that U.S. agencies continued reconstruction assistance through 100 off-budget activities and activities implemented by multilateral institutions. State acknowledged that programming may benefit the Taliban. For example, implementers may be required to use U.S. government funds to pay fees and taxes to the Taliban or others. However, State and USAID said that efforts would be made to mitigate this risk to the extent possible.
— U.S. agencies are reviewing suspended activities and may resume some. Most of the continued assistance includes emergency assistance. U.S.-funded activities that remained ongoing included funding for education, humanitarian efforts including migration and refugee assistance, healthcare funding, and radio transmission to provide Afghans news information within the country.
— Of the six U.S. agencies (DOD, State, USAID, USAGM, DEA, and DFC) funding reconstruction activities in Afghanistan in FY 2021, only four (State, USAID, USAGM, and DFC) had ongoing reconstruction activities as of October 1, 2021.
Read more here.