American aid to Afghanistan may be going to Taliban

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, has warned lawmakers that billions of dollars in US foreign aid for Afghan civilians may be going directly to Taliban leaders due to poor oversight. Sopko told the House Oversight Committee that he could not assure them that the Taliban were not diverting the money from intended recipients, the Afghan people. The comments highlight the fallout from the chaotic withdrawal of all US military forces from the country nearly two years ago. The Biden administration has allotted more than $8bn in foreign humanitarian aid to Afghan groups and charities since the August 2021 withdrawal. However, Sopko said State Department officials have not been able to track large portions of those payouts and cannot assert that the money is reaching the individuals for whom it is intended. Similarly, Diana Shaw, acting inspector general for the State Department, testified that her office is monitoring more than 152,000 Special Immigrant Visa applicants still trapped in Afghanistan, facing years of bureaucratic red tape. Both Sopko and Shaw said administration officials have been reluctant or opposed to their offices’ efforts to continue oversight into the Afghanistan issues. Lawmakers found some bipartisan ground on that topic, saying the administration needs to be more transparent on ongoing involvement there. The Pentagon and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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