United States is 'single largest donor' to UN Afghan aid since Taliban takeover, watchdog says

The U.S. government appropriated more than $2.35 billion during fiscal years 2022 and 2023 for Afghanistan reconstruction.

Published: August 9, 2023 11:24am

The United States is the "single largest donor" to the United Nations' Afghanistan humanitarian response, having donated $74.4 million since the nation fell to the Taliban in August 2021, according to a report from Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko, who is warning that the lessons learned in the region can be applied in Ukraine.

Additionally, the U.S. government appropriated more than $2.35 billion during fiscal years 2022 and 2023 for Afghanistan reconstruction, according to a quarterly report last week to Congress from Sopko. At least $1.34 billion of that was given to the U.N. Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Office from Jan. 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

The United Kingdom is the second-largest donor to the U.N. office, with donations totaling $550 million during that time.

From October 2001 through June 30, the U.S. government allocated $147.06 billion to Afghanistan, the report states.

The Taliban is pushing to control aid further even as the group is accused of harboring terrorists and committing atrocious human rights violations, according to the report.

In the first three months of 2023 alone, "a UN monitoring task force verified 315 grave violations against children, including killing and maiming," the report states.

Sopko also explained the implications Afghanistan can have on Ukraine, which he said is "receiving an unprecedented level of financial assistance."

"The enormous pressure to demonstrate progress led the United States to take shortcuts and bypass the Afghan government and its systems and simply do things ourselves," Sopko wrote. "The United States is at risk of repeating the same mistakes in Ukraine and in other conflict-affected environments because many of the impediments to locally led reconstruction remain unaddressed."

Fixing this would mean that the U.S. government would need to reform its staffing and contracting structures, he also said.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on Twitter or Instagram.

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