Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko said Wednesday he cannot say whether $2 billion U.S. tax dollars given to Afghanistan assistance are not funding the Taliban.
The United States has appropriated $2 billion in Afghanistan assistance since withdrawing from the country in 2021, Sopko testified to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability during a hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal.
“As I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban,” he said.
“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 Sopko warned in prepared remarks obtained by Just the News ahead of the hearing.
Sopko also explained 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 wrote 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.”
The government watchdog is 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.