Michael McCaul reiterates call for transparency on Afghanistan aid

The Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, has criticized the Biden administration for providing funding to Afghanistan that is “lining the pockets of the Taliban.”

In a statement on Wednesday, in response to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR) that found the Taliban is accessing both US and UN aid meant to go directly to the people of Afghanistan, McCaul has said: “This latest report underscores the urgent need for transparency from the Biden administration on funding to Afghanistan.”

“it is despicable that U.S. taxpayer money is lining the pockets of a terrorist group like the Taliban, which persecutes Afghan women and girls, funds al-Qaeda and other terrorists, perpetrates atrocities against religious minorities, and commits numerous other human rights abuses daily.” Part of the statement reads.

McCaul stated that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was “significantly worsened” by President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from the country.

He further stated that he has been asking the Biden administration for months to explain how they plan to help the people of Afghanistan without giving money to the Taliban. However, he has not received a response.

In its quarterly report to the US Congress on Tuesday, SIGAR stated that the United States has provided more than $2.35 billion in funding to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

The SIGAR report also states that the Taliban have infiltrated and influenced most UN-managed assistance programs by “pushing for ever-increasing degrees of credit and control over the delivery of aid.”

SIGAR also stated that Afghanistan’s central bank (DAB) is not independent from the Taliban administration and does not have adequate safeguards in place to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Taliban have barred women from humanitarian work, attempted aid diversion, and disrupted UN aid provision in several provinces of Afghanistan.

Taliban’s interference with UN and NGO activities lead to a steady decline in humanitarian access in 2023, with a 32% increase in incidents between January and May 2023 as compared to the same period in 2022.