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McCaul urges transparency amid Taliban aid diversion

AT News

KABUL – Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul has called for transparency regarding funding to Afghanistan fearing Taliban would siphon off funds and aid to their own finances. He criticized Taliban’s involvement in channeling aid, urging Biden administration to clarify Washington’s financial assistance to Afghanistan.

“It’s unacceptable that funds from US taxpayers are benefiting the Taliban, which persecute Afghan women and girls. Despite my repeated inquiries, the Biden administration has not addressed how they plan to aid the Afghan people while ensuring money doesn’t end up in Taliban hands. This recent report underscores the urgent necessity for transparency from the Biden administration concerning funding for Afghanistan,” he stated.

In response to McCaul’s remarks, the Taliban have said they don’t does not meddle in affairs of aid agencies. “External aid is administered through institutions, and institutions have complete control over their financial issues and expenses. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has external control over them, protects their security where help is distributed, and it cooperates with them where complaints are made for the sake of transparency,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Taliban.

However, some economists contend that the Taliban government’s involvement in aid allocation has led donor nations to decrease their contributions. The US special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West had recently stated that the US and its allies are holding back $2 billion in aid and won’t grant it until fundamental changes are brought to Taliban governance.

A recent report from the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed that the US remains the largest donor to Afghanistan, allocating over $2.35 billion since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021. SIGAR’s quarterly report to the US Congress highlighted Taliban interference as a primary obstacle for aid beneficiaries in accessing assistance. In April 2023 alone, there were 110 incidents of access disruption due to Taliban involvement.

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