The Biden Administration spent one billion dollars in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and they aren’t too eager to tell you what they spent your taxpayer dollars on. For the first time since its founding in 2008, watchdog Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction can’t get an answer on where the money went —both the State and Treasury Departments aren’t talking.
“SIGAR, for the first time in its history, is unable this quarter to provide Congress and the American people with a full accounting of this U.S. government spending due to the non-cooperation of U.S. agencies,” the watchdog disclosed in its latest report to Congress. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which allocates American aid, “and the Treasury Department refused to cooperate with SIGAR in any capacity, while the State Department was selective in the information it provided pursuant to SIGAR’s audit and quarterly data requests.”
SIGAR says the Biden Admin’s refusal to disclose how the funds were spent is a direct violation of the watchdog’s Congressional mandate.
“After more than a decade of cooperation, State, and USAID have for months now refused to provide SIGAR with information and assistance needed for several audits and Congressionally mandated reviews” into the “collapse of the U.S.‐backed government in Afghanistan,” the report says. These agencies are also withholding information pertaining to their “compliance with laws and regulations prohibiting the transfer of funds to the Taliban.”
The State Department’s response? It’s really none of SIGAR’s business…
“Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the United States has stopped providing assistance for the purpose of the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” the State Department told SIGAR. “Since August 2021, the United States has dramatically changed the nature and scope of its activities in Afghanistan to focus instead on humanitarian aid and targeted assistance designed to help meet basic human needs and avoid complete and imminent economic collapse.”
SIGAR says that, too, is their business…
Congress, the watchdog group adds, “was clear when it granted SIGAR jurisdiction in its 2008 enabling legislation overall reconstruction spending in Afghanistan, including development and humanitarian aid.”
State Department official Ned Price says they have no plans to cooperate.
“Our position is that, except for certain specific funds, SIGAR’s statutory mandate is limited to funds available for, quote, ‘the reconstruction of Afghanistan,’” Price said. “SIGAR’s current work does not appear to fall under its statutory mandate to oversee the funds for, quote, ‘the reconstruction of Afghanistan.’”
Where’s the one billion dollars, Mr. Price? Transparency and accountability is what Americans want from you.