Taliban Gets Millions in U.S. Afghanistan Aid by Charging Taxes, Permit Fees, Import Duties

Of the nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid that the United States has given Afghanistan since the 2021 military withdraw at least $11 million—and likely a lot more—has gone to the Taliban, according to a new federal audit that reveals the U.S. “has continued to be the largest international donor supporting the Afghan people since the former Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.” The terrorist group has taken the millions in humanitarian and development assistance intended to help the people of Afghanistan in the form of taxes, fees, import duties, permit charges, licenses, or public utility services. The Taliban has probably received a much bigger chunk of the humanitarian assistance because the parties involved in the cash giveaway, including federal agencies, the famously corrupt United Nations and handpicked nonprofits, do not bother keeping track.

“SIGAR also found that the $10.9 million paid by 38 U.S. Department of State (State), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) implementing partners is likely only a fraction of the total amount of U.S. assistance funds provided to the Taliban in taxes, fees, duties, and utilities because UN agencies receiving U.S. funds did not collect data or provide relevant information about their subawardees’ payments,” the watchdog writes in its latest report. “From October 2021 through September 2023, the UN received $1.6 billion in U.S. funding for programming in Afghanistan, approximately 63 percent of all U.S. assistance funding for Afghanistan during that period.” The U.S. government does not require the leftist world body to report on taxes, fees, duties or utilities incurred on American funds for activities in Afghanistan, the probe found.

Aid to Afghanistan predates President Biden’s abrupt troop withdraw but since the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government in August 2021, Uncle Sam has dedicated significant resources to fulfill the basic needs of the Afghan people with little oversight. “These efforts include addressing food security, agriculture, health, and education, as well as undertaking programs designed to improve economic conditions and human rights in Afghanistan, particularly the rights of women, girls, and minority communities,” the SIGAR report states. The Taliban has disrupted activities required to disburse the aid in a variety of ways, including attempts to divert funds or infiltrate nonprofits on the ground. Investigators found that more than a dozen partner organizations reported direct pressure from the Taliban when distributing American aid, including diverting food and other aid to populations chosen by the terrorist group and its forced approval of program design and implementation.

Just a few months ago Judicial Watch reported that the Taliban has created fake nonprofits to get millions in U.S. humanitarian aid since the 2021 military withdraw. The terrorist group has established fraudulent non-governmental organizations (NGO), typically nonprofits with humanitarian missions such as improving public or social welfare, that annually receive billions of dollars from American taxpayers. The money flows through various federal agencies, including the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and State. Specifically, the Taliban is benefiting from American education funding through the establishment of fraudulent NGOs to receive donor assistance and it has infiltrated and extorted existing Afghan NGOs delivering educational assistance. The alarming information was disclosed in a SIGAR report published in October 2023. The watchdog’s latest probe also disclosed that partners delivering U.S. aid in Afghanistan stated the Taliban regularly inquiries about ways to obtain donor funding, including through the establishment of Afghan NGOs.

It is not like American government officials do not know the Taliban is taking the money. A report issued last year by the United States Institute of Peace, the federal institution founded by Congress to promote worldwide conflict resolution, concluded that foreign-funded assistance is unlikely to prove effective as leverage to shape the Taliban government’s behavior. “On the contrary, the Taliban are likely to increasingly regard foreign funded activities as just another potential revenue stream,” the U.S. Institute of Peace found. “Any form of humanitarian or development assistance is prone to manipulation by the Taliban. Aid/development delivery…exposes [foreign donors] to Taliban coercion with little leverage or recourse to resist.”

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