Government Watchdog Sounds the Alarm, Says Biden Admin Plans to Forward Taxpayer Money to the Taliban
The Biden administration is planning to throw Americans’ tax dollars at the Taliban without knowing how the money will be used, according to a watchdog group.
“The Biden administration has laid out plans through the U.S. Treasury to open up the U.S. taxpayer dollars spigot back into Afghanistan,” Adam Andrzejewski of the group Open The Books said in a video on the organization’s website.
“We run the risk of funding the world’s most dangerous foreign terrorist organization if we open up the U.S. taxpayer spigot through the Department of Treasury,” he said.
On Friday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that freed up $7 billion in funds that were frozen after the collapse of the previous Afghan government, according to CNN. Half of the money could go to fund relief operations in the country. Half would be available to the survivors of 9/11 victims to fund litigation CNN reported.
Andrzejewski said that some basic steps need to be taken to justify any tax dollars going to the Taliban.
“It has to serve people who have real needs and we need an audit trail. When we secured the country over 20 years, we didn’t even have those things in place,” he said.
“Unless we learn from our history, we’re going to repeat it. If we’re using taxpayer money in Afghanistan, it’s going to be stolen,” he said.
In a Jan. 13 letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinkin, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and 15 GOP colleagues demanded to know how U.S. tax money is going to the Taliban. and the terrorist group known as the Haqqani network.
That group’s commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the acting interior minister of the Taliban government.
In December, the Biden administration announced it was easing some restrictions on aid to the Taliban government, according to The Hill, including by issuing general licenses to U.S. government and humanitarian groups to render assistance to Afghanistan without violating sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
Ernst and he colleagues want to know more.
“We write to express significant concerns over the recent announcement from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) on the issuance of General Licenses (GLs) authorizing the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars through the Taliban and the Haqqani network,” the letter stated.
“While we agree widespread famine and denial of rights to Afghan women and girls are immediate problems to address with humanitarian aid and assistance, OFAC’s sweeping authorization risks too much U.S. taxpayer money flowing through the Taliban or the Haqqani network to fund an excessive, ill-fated, or wasteful list of services such as activities to support the rule of law by the Taliban, education exchanges in a country that now devalues education for women and girls, and endangered species research,” the letter said.
The letter charged that safeguards are lacking in the plan to throw more money at Afghanistan.
“Furthermore, OFAC does not outline control mechanisms to ensure funds do not end up in the Taliban’s coffers. As these licenses stand, the Administration’s wide latitude and unclear enforcement mechanisms risk the American taxpayer funding the world’s most dangerous foreign terrorist organization,” the letter said.
Despite claims from the Taliban when the group took over Afghanistan last year that the rights of women would be respected, the letter said “Taliban leaders are targeting women for beatings and killings and banning their free movement around the country.”
The lax controls proposed by the administration make it “far too easy for the Taliban and Haqqani network to steal taxpayer money intended for humanitarian assistance,” the letter stated.
It set a deadline of Feb. 11 to get an answer to the total funding has been allocated to Afghanistan through the Treasury Department, how much the Taliban and the Haqqani network have collected taxes and fees, and total U.S. funding to Afghanistan since Aug. 31.
Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, one of the signers of the letter, lashed out Friday at the Biden administration in response to a Wall Street Journal report Friday about the Taliban detaining an American citizen along with the citizens of several other countries.
“Just one year into his presidency, Joe Biden has cemented his legacy as a failed commander in chief and incompetent leader of the free world. Six months ago, we all watched in horror as the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan left hundreds of Americans stranded behind enemy lines and 13 U.S. service members dead. To allow a terrorist regime to threaten even one American life is unacceptable,” Scott said in a release on his website.
“Not only are President Biden’s policies putting an American’s life at risk, but right as reports are showing that the Taliban has held an American citizen in custody since December, President Biden’s response is to dole out $3.5 billion back to Afghanistan,” he said.
“Being the president of the United States means stepping up – but Biden has failed to do so at every single moment it was needed since he took office,” Scott said.
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