SIGAR: US aid may provide legitimacy for Taliban
Photo: AP

SIGAR: US aid may inadvertently confer legitimacy to Taliban

The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said in its new quarterly report to the US Congress that the country’s aid “may inadvertently confer legitimacy onto the Taliban, both internationally & domestically.”

As per the report, the US provided over $8 billion in assistance to Afghan citizens and refugees since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. “This includes more than $2 billion, primarily for humanitarian and development aid in Afghanistan, and $3.5 billion transferred to a newly created Afghan Fund to recapitalize the Afghan central bank and for related purposes. In addition, the United States obligated $2.7 billion in FY 2022 for the Department of Defense (DOD) to transport, house, and feed Afghan evacuees,” the report detailed

According to SIGAR’s judgement, the Taliban’s “institutionalized abuse of women” raises the question for US policy makers whether the country, as biggest humanitarian aid donor, could continue providing aid to Afghanistan without benefiting the Taliban.

The Taliban regime derives revenue from this aid in the form of “licenses,” “taxes,” and “administrative fees” imposed on NGOs and their employees as a condition for operating in Afghanistan, SIGAR stated.

“Neither #StateDept nor SIGAR have visibility on how much revenue Taliban-controlled ministries may be collecting from fees and other payments from #UN agencies or NGOs,” SIGAR’s report said, citing head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, as saying that those payments to the Taliban were essential to ongoing humanitarian activities in Afghanistan.

According to UN, 28.3 million Afghans are dependent on international food assistance this winter.