Speaking to the US House Oversight Committee, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconciliation (SIGAR) John Sopko testified that he cannot say whether the US assistance is currently not “funding the Taliban.”
Sopko also pointed out the “dire humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan.”
“It is critical that our assistance not be diverted by the Taliban,” he said. “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 from the intended recipients, which are the poor Afghan people.”
Robert Storch, Inspector General of the Department of Defense; Diana Shaw, acting Inspector General, performing the duties of the Inspector General Department of State; Nicole L. Angarella, acting Deputy Inspector General, performing the duties of the Inspector General US Agency for International Development (USAID) and John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), participated in the House Oversight Committee hearing
“If the purpose is to help the Afghan people, we have to have effective oversight to ensure the money goes to those people and not to some Taliban. And I would just say I haven't seen a starving Taliban fighter on TV,” Sopko said. “They all seem to be fat, dumb and happy. I see a lot of starving Afghan children on TV. So I'm wondering where all this funding is going.”
But the Ministry of Economy denied the statement of SIGAR, saying that the aid has been transparently provided to the people who needed it.
“The officials of the Islamic Emirate only monitor the aid, so through a transparent process the aid is provided to the vulnerable people,” said Abddul Latif Nazari, Deputy Minister of Economy.
Sopko also referred to the Republic's Afghan Defense and Security Forces, saying that they had “reports that half of those people were probably ghosts. We were paying their salaries, but they didn't exist.”
Sopko also said that they estimated in reports that the Afghan government could not survive after the withdrawal of US troops.