The Biden administration has provided more than $2.35 billion in taxpayer dollars to Afghanistan since the Taliban retook control of the government in 2021 following a deadly U.S. evacuation.
The United States remains Afghanistan’s top patron, even as lawmakers and federal oversight officials warn that these funds could be propping up the Taliban’s terrorist government. Updated spending figures were disclosed Tuesday in a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a federal watchdog that documents waste, fraud, and abuse related to U.S. expenditures in the war-torn country.
Around $1.7 billion “remained available for possible disbursement” at the time of SIGAR’s report, meaning that this money is ready to flow into non-profit groups and other entities working on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. With the Taliban exerting control over nearly every sector of the country’s infrastructure—including the NGO community—it is more than likely that a sizable portion of these funds will end up in the terror group’s coffers.
The latest figures are certain to increase congressional pressure on the Biden administration to stop sending taxpayer funds into Afghanistan until officials can ensure the Taliban is not stealing the money. John Sopko, head of SIGAR, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April that he “cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban.” Sopko also accused the Biden administration of blocking his investigatory efforts and refusing to hand over documents that could show if the Taliban is being propped up by American cash.
In the two years since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s withdrawal of American forces in 2021, it has become increasingly clear that the terrorist group views international assistance as a “revenue stream,” according to SIGAR’s latest report.