U.S. Watchdog Claims to Find ‘Really Horrific Information’ on U.N. Work in Afghanistan

us watchdog claims to find really horrific information on un work in afghanistan

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said on Thursday his agency has uncovered “some really horrific information about the problems with the U.N. operations in Afghanistan.”

Sopko did not go into details about his findings, but he said the House Foreign Relations Committee asked him to investigate if humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is being misappropriated by the Taliban, strongly implying his horrific information pertains to the terrorist regime stealing money and supplies that were meant for suffering civilians.

“A lot of congressmen are torn in this conundrum between giving humanitarian assistance to Afghans who are suffering versus how much of that is going to a regime which we hate,” Sopko said, dropping some very heavy hints about the nature of his discoveries.

Voice of America News (VOA) promptly fired off some questions to the United Nations (U.N.) about whether or not the Taliban is stealing humanitarian aid, but the U.N. did not respond.

Sopko was speaking at an Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) event at King’s College in London. The AISS is an independent research institute created in 2012, long before President Joe Biden’s disastrous August 2021 withdrawal of U.S. forces put the barbaric Taliban regime in power.

The AISS relocated to the United Kingdom after the Taliban takeover and frequently organizes events to debate the future of Afghanistan. The event Sopko addressed on Thursday was called “Reimagining Afghanistan: Ways Forward.”

Sopko told his audience that the U.S. House has passed legislation that would “bar the secretary of state and the aid administrator from giving any funds to Afghanistan if it directly went to the Taliban or indirectly went to the Taliban.” The bill has not yet advanced to the Senate.

SIGAR said he understood the reluctance to put U.S. or U.N. money in the hands of the Taliban but also worried that shutting down aid programs would be harsh on the Afghan people, who are suffering through one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Sopko said the Taliban is “one of the most repressive, if not the most repressive, regimes in the world” and denounced its “reluctance to abide by any semblance of human rights norms, particularly when it comes to the treatment of – and opportunities for – Afghan women and girls.”

“Can governments stand by and do nothing in the hopes of altering Taliban behavior – or out of fears that assistance will benefit the Taliban?” he asked.

“After two decades of losing American lives fighting the Taliban insurgency – and given the Taliban’s seemingly ever-increasing disregard for any international condemnations over their treatment of Afghan women, girls, and minorities – patience may be wearing thin,” he acknowledged.

Afghanistan’s independent Tolo News quoted the Taliban-appointed deputy minister of the economy, Abdul Latif Nazari, denouncing the U.S. Congress for even considering restrictions on aid to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

“This is an injustice towards the people of Afghanistan, to ban assistance to the noble people of Afghanistan. We call on the U.S. House of Representatives to reverse the decision,” Nazari said.

Several humanitarian organizations have suspended operations in Afghanistan due to the thuggish policies of the government Nazari represents, and the concerns Sopko alluded to about the Taliban stealing aid money and supplies. The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP), for example, suspended deliveries of food, money, and supplies in April.

The U.N. estimated that almost two-thirds of the Afghan population needs humanitarian relief under Taliban mismanagement, and six million people are on the verge of starvation, but the WFP had to cease operations after Taliban officials in the southeastern province of Ghazni tried to take control of the food and money. 

Several humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGO) partnered with the U.S. government halted their activities in Afghanistan for similar reasons. The U.S. State Department said one group it was funding had to shut down because the Taliban began ordering it to use its vehicles to “provide transportation support to Taliban representatives” and interfered in “staff recruitment processes.”

“It is clear from our work that the Taliban is using various methods to divert U.S. aid dollars,” Sopko told the House Oversight Committee in April.

“Unfortunately, as I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban. Nor can I assure you that the Taliban are not diverting the money we are sending for the intended recipients, which are the poor Afghan people,” he said.

SIGAR told House Oversight that one technique used by the Taliban to siphon off humanitarian aid was assessing exorbitant “customs charges” on inbound shipments, on top of “charging taxes and fees directly to NGOs.”

Another reason many humanitarian programs for the Afghan people have been shuttered was the Taliban’s ongoing human rights violations, especially its December 2022 order that women could not work for NGOs. Besides offending the principles of international organizations, this order made it difficult for some of them to continue operating in Afghanistan, because many of their staffers were female.

Authored by John Hayward via Breitbart July 21st 2023