April 19, 2023

US aid dollars to Afghan people being diverted to the Taliban, special inspector warns

By Madeleine Hubbard

U.S. tax dollars intended to benefit the Afghan people are being diverted by the Taliban, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko is warning in prepared remarks for a House hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal on Wednesday.

"Since the Taliban takeover, the U.S. government has sought to continue supporting the Afghan people without providing benefits for the Taliban regime. However, it is clear from our work that the Taliban is using various methods to divert U.S. aid dollars," special inspector general John Sopko is expected to tell the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in statements obtained by Just the News.

Sopko will also explain that government agencies are not cooperating with his oversight requests. "In sum, due to the refusal of State and USAID to fully cooperate with SIGAR, I cannot report to this Committee or the American people on the extent to which our government may be funding the Taliban and other nefarious groups with U.S. taxpayer dollars," he states in his prepared remarks.

"We simply do not know since the Department of State, USAID, the UN and other agencies are refusing to give us basic information that we or any other oversight body would need to ensure safe stewardship of tax dollars."Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in prepared remarks that the "hearing will be the first in a series to examine President Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"Government watchdogs going to testify about the billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse that they uncovered in Afghanistan, according to Comer.The hearing comes one day after security experts testified at a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism hearing that the terrorist threat in Afghanistan is rapidly growing and that the U.S. or its interests could be attacked in less than six months.

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