Afghanistan continues to deteriorate after US withdrawal, US has given $17 billion tax dollars

  • The Islamic extremist Taliban terrorists who took over rule of Afghanistan when the US left continue to tighten their grip on the population, stoning and flogging women, and banning girls’ education.
  • The US remains the single largest donor to Afghanistan.
  • Since the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021, the US has given more than $17 billion in aid to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees.

The following is newly-released information from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko.

Below are highlights from SIGAR’s quarterly report to Congress with page numbers corresponding to the actual report.

The United States remains the largest donor to the Afghan people. Since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, the United States has appropriated or otherwise made available $17.19 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and to Afghan refugees. This includes more than $2.80 billion in U.S. appropriations for Afghanistan assistance; $3.50 billion transferred to the Afghan Fund; DOD obligations of $5.36 billion in Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid; and $3 billion for management of the Enduring Welcome Program.

(Page 5)

Key Points:

(Page numbers refer to those on the bottom of the report pages.)

Voices of the Diaspora

— Since the fall of the Afghan government in 2021, SIGAR interviewed 61 members of the Afghan diaspora in the United States and elsewhere about the current situation in Afghanistan, their work in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban takeover, how they departed Afghanistan, and their lives in exile. Collectively, the interviews offer a rare insight into Afghanistan and provide an important voice and perspective to policymakers in the absence of U.S. government personnel on the ground. Many of those interviewed said SIGAR was the first U.S. government agency to contact them since their arrival. A few samples:

(Page 15)

               Feelings of Betrayal and Abandonment

A former Afghan Air Force pilot, who was trained by the United States and fought alongside U.S. forces, said he was ordered to fly an aircraft to Uzbekistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover. Unaware that no prior arrangements had been made with Uzbek air traffic control, he said he was shocked when an Uzbek plane spotted and followed him, ultimately hitting his plane, causing both planes to crash. He said both pilots ejected. Lost in the Uzbek wilderness, the Afghan pilot said he ran for miles, bleeding, and calling for help. “I had to ask several people in the hospital to help me make a phone call to my family to tell them I was alive. I had no money, no documents, everything was left in the plane that crashed,” he said.

(Page 17)

Afghans Divided Over Humanitarian Assistance and U.S. Engagement

Afghans SIGAR interviewed were divided over whether the United States should continue giving humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. While they agreed that there is tremendous hunger and need in Afghanistan, some felt that U.S. assistance, however inadvertently, bolsters Taliban rule. A former provincial council member said “Taliban suicide bombers and [their] families are receiving aid.”

An Afghan economic development expert saw the absence or drastic decrease in development aid as the primary reason for the challenges Afghans are facing today. He said, “The current U.S. disengagement is not in the U.S. foreign policy interest [because] the U.S. is leaving Afghanistan to its competitors.” He said the United States will have to decide “whether it wants Afghanistan to be more like Iran or more like the Gulf.”

(Page 20-21)

Entry Through the Southern Border

One interviewee said that after living under Taliban rule for six months, where she “lost everything in a matter of months,” she had no choice but to leave the country. Groups of 30–40 Afghans, including adults and children, made the journey across 13 countries from Brazil to the U.S.-Mexico border, using a variety of transportation methods including planes, trains, buses, and by foot. She told SIGAR that she and the other Afghans had to pay bribes to police officers since they entered those countries illegally. She highlighted particularly dangerous routes through a Panamanian forest and Tijuana, Mexico. She said when they crossed the U.S. border in November 2022, they were greeted by a border agent who told them, “Welcome to America.”

               (Page 24-25)

Challenging Integration into American Communities

Some Afghans said that women who had resettled were experiencing severe mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts. Unable to speak English, often illiterate, and stuck at home in small apartments with lots of children, they find themselves isolated in the United States.

(Page 26)


When SIGAR asked what messages they want to convey to Congress and the American people, Afghans who recently arrived in the United States had two: one about the sorrow and fear they feel about the home they were forced to flee, and another about their struggle to build new lives in the United States. Adding to this sense of urgency, one former Afghan National Army official said, “This catastrophe is increasing, the most concerning issue is the emergence of fundamentalism in Afghanistan.” He said tens of thousands of children are being educated in madrassas instead of public schools. “The more time we lose, the worse it will get.”

               (Page 27)

Afghanistan Ranked Unhappiest Country in the World

— Researchers at the Oxford University Wellbeing Research Centre say Afghanistan has become the unhappiest country in the world, across all categories, since the Taliban took over in 2021, according to the latest edition of the World Happiness Report, released in March. Of the 143 countries analyzed, Afghanistan ranked last with an average respondent ranking their life evaluation at just 1.7 out of 10.

(Page 40)

UN Human Rights in Afghanistan Report: Will the Taliban Change?

— In February, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett, reporting on human rights in Afghanistan, stated that some members of the international community are moving toward “acceptance of the inevitability of the situation” and are willing to trade relative security for normalization. Such a trade, the report said, would relieve the Taliban from making progress on its human rights record. Bennett’s report underscored that the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls violates the principles of the UN charter and therefore fundamentally disqualifies the Taliban from being recognized as a government. 

(Page 41)

Taliban Leader Defends Stoning and Flogging Women

— In a March audio message aired on Afghanistan’s state television, Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada defended the Taliban’s interpretation of sharia law and addressed international critics of the group’s human rights record: “Our mission is to enforce sharia and Allah’s Hudud [law]… You may call it a violation of women’s rights when we publicly stone or flog them for committing adultery because they conflict with your democratic principles. Just as you claim to be striving for the freedom of entire humanity, so do I. I represent Allah, and you represent Satan.” At the end of March, Taliban officials in Faryab and Khost Provinces demonstrated their commitment to Akhundzada’s so-called mission by publicly flogging

nine people for adultery and “fleeing from home.”

(Page 41)

Education: Taliban Tightening its Ban on Girl’s Education and Madrassas Increasing

— This quarter, the Taliban maintained their nationwide ban on girls attending school or university beyond the sixth grade, while a local Afghan media outlet reported that Kandahar, the home of the regime’s supreme leader, imposed an even more stringent ban preventing girls from attending school past the age of 10 or beyond the third grade. In advance of another Afghan school year that began on March 21, the UN reported that the Taliban issued changes to the public-school curriculum timetable to increase hours for religious teaching for all students. The instructions include the removal of subjects such as civic education, calligraphy, life skills, and foreign languages other than Arabic.

(Page 51)

— This quarter, the Taliban continued to establish more madrassas, or religious seminaries, bringing the total to 6,836 for males and 380 for females. From November 2023 to February 2024, a Taliban-reported 2,464 students graduated from Taliban-registered madrassas, including 128 female graduates, the first time the regime has reported such figures since seizing control of the country. The Taliban announced that graduates would receive diplomas based on three levels: advanced, intermediate, and beginner. Under the Taliban’s new certification system, students can obtain a religious education certificate equivalent to “Mullah” in eight years.

(Pages 51-52)

Central Bank Asks for U.S. Assistance

— This quarter, State told SIGAR that Afghanistan’s Taliban-run central bank, DAB, asked State for “technical assistance to implement best practices for central bank governance, but the U.S. government cannot provide such assistance at this time for legal and policy reasons.”

(Page 63)

UN Funding Shortfall

— The UN is seeking $3.06 billion for its 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to assist 17.3 million of an estimated 23.7 million Afghans in dire need. As of April 17, the HRP was 7.7% funded, at $237.1 million. The United States is its single largest funding source, contributing over $80 million this year.

(Page 81)

U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan 

— In the first two quarters of FY 2024, the U.S. government has committed and obligated more than $233 million to support humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. USAID obligated much of that funding, over $153 million, this quarter.

(Page 6)

State Department Program Paid Nearly $1.3 Million in Taxes to Taliban

— Since September 2021, State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) implementing partners have paid Taliban entities nearly $1.3 million in taxes, including $138,000 this quarter, the majority of which is withheld payroll tax. PM/WRA has $5 million in FY 2023 funds available for obligation.

(Page 96)

Taliban Interference in Humanitarian Operations

— The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reported 81 incidents of interference in humanitarian activities in February. The UN reported that in 2023, Taliban authorities and security forces were responsible for 95% of the 1,775 access incidents, reflecting “a notable increase in bureaucratic and administrative impediments and restrictions on women aid workers.” As a result, 730 projects were suspended last year, with half of them reactivated after one month.

(Page 46)

Afghan Fund Update

— On January 29, the Afghan Fund’s board of trustees held its fifth meeting. The board reported that the Fund’s assets reached $3.74 billion at the end of December. According to the meeting minutes, the Fund’s board unanimously agreed to pay Afghanistan’s outstanding arrears to the Asian Development Bank, as of the end of December, “as soon as the Fund’s compliance framework is in place and the Fund is disbursement ready.” As this report went to press, the Afghan Fund has not made any disbursements to entities on behalf of Afghanistan. 

(Page 62)

International Engagement: 

— UN Secretary-General António Guterres convened a meeting of special representatives for Afghanistan from various UN member states in Doha, Qatar, February 18–19. They discussed UN Security Council Resolution 2721, adopted in December 2023, which requests, in part, that Secretary-General Guterres appoint a UN special envoy for Afghanistan. A UN special envoy was not appointed at the Doha meeting. The Taliban have publicly opposed a UN special envoy for Afghanistan. The group showed initial interest in joining the Doha discussions, but ultimately declined when the UN insisted on including Afghan civil society actors, denying the Taliban the opportunity to act as the sole representative for Afghanistan.

(Pages 35-36)

— China’s representative to Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that China was ready to “enhance engagement with Afghanistan to help for its peace, stability, reconstruction, and common prosperity.” Xiaoyong also noted that during the meetings, China had advocated for unfreezing Afghanistan’s overseas assets and lifting economic sanctions. These remarks followed Beijing’s acceptance of a Taliban diplomatic envoy in January. Like China, Russia has shown limited diplomatic support for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.  Moscow accepted a Taliban military attaché, Ahamad Yasir, at Afghanistan’s embassy in March. In February, Azerbaijan announced the reopening of its embassy in Kabul. On March 13, the Taliban announced on X that the acting minister of interior affairs, Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani, met with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, where they discussed strengthening relations, security, counternarcotics, and regional stability.

(Page 38-39)

— In January, the Taliban hosted the “Afghanistan Regional Cooperation Initiative,” an international conference promoting economic connectivity and security with regional countries, the first of its kind since the regime seized power in 2021. Participants included China, Russia, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. 

(Page 39)

Security: Risk of Terrorist Haven and Female Security Forces Strength

— Terror attacks continued to emanate from Afghanistan this quarter amid ongoing U.S., UN, and regional concerns that the country is once again becoming a terrorist haven, despite the Taliban’s counterterrorism commitments in the 2020 Doha Agreement. The Taliban face substantial challenges in “managing competing dimensions of terrorist threat and external pressure,” according to a UN sanctions monitoring team. 

(Page 52)

— ISIS-K “retains the capability and will to attack U.S. and Western interests abroad in as little as six months and with little to no warning,” General Michael Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in March. IS-K claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack at a Moscow concert hall later in March that killed more than 130 people. The UN reiterated that it considers the group the “greatest threat within Afghanistan, with the ability to project a threat into the region and beyond,” though it does not control any territory in Afghanistan.

(Page 53-54)

— Despite its weakened operational state, al Qaeda’s general command increased its volume of media products aimed to expand recruitment, demonstrate adaptability, and “restore credibility,” according to a January UN sanctions monitoring team report. The UN team identified up to eight new al Qaeda training camps, one stockpile weapons base, and five madrassas this quarter; the UN also said al Qaeda continued to support other violent extremist organizations in Afghanistan, including TTP, with cross-border attacks and weapons.

(Page 58)

— The Taliban reported about 2,000 women in their security forces, half the number in the former Afghan government’s uniformed police force pre-collapse. After the Afghan government’s collapse—and despite increasing restrictions on women—the Taliban began hiring former government female police officers. Afghans who participated in a SIGAR-commissioned informal security assessment said they knew of women joining the Taliban ministry of interior’s criminal investigations and passport departments. Some women in Afghanistan support Taliban policies, despite their perceived antifeminism; other women support the Taliban due to family pressure and economic need, according to the Royal United Services Institute, a UK defense and security think tank.

(Page 59)

— This quarter, SIGAR commissioned an informal assessment of Afghan views about the security situation in Afghanistan. Forty-four individuals (36 men and eight women) were interviewed across 14 provinces: Badakhshan, Balkh, Helmand, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Paktiya, Parwan, and Panjshir. These individuals were employed and/or had an active role in society, were considered knowledgeable and aware of the security situation, had at least a high school education, and were not affiliated with the Taliban or other militant organizations. The assessment covered topics ranging from general safety and security in Afghanistan to the recruitment practices of militant organizations.

(Page 53)

Taliban Propose to Restrict or Ban Facebook

— In April, Najibullah Haqqani, the Taliban’s minister of telecommunications and information announced a proposal to restrict or block access to Facebook, pending Taliban leadership approval. Haqqani reportedly said it was “in the interest of the nation,” because Afghan youth, allegedly, are too uneducated to use Facebook in a “positive way” and using it “is a waste of time and money.” A Voice of America report citing Statistica, an online statistics database, said Afghanistan has 3.15 million active social media users and Facebook is one of the most popular platforms. U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists urged against the proposed measure saying social media platforms help fill the void of Afghanistan’s media industry which has been heavily censored by the Taliban after seizing power. The Taliban proposal, they said, further restricts the flow of information.

(Page 43-44)

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1 thought on “Afghanistan continues to deteriorate after US withdrawal, US has given $17 billion tax dollars”

  1. There is no valid reason for the US to be providing any money to Afghanistan, to anyone nor for any reason.
    Like, there is no reason any Afghans should be allowed into the United States, with the exception of those like the pilot in the narrative and others that helped US forces, of course their families. I would like to see some form of verification to support their claim of assisting Americans.
    I have no idea how many Americans were killed by our so called allies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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