U.S. sanctions against ex-parliament speaker spark reactions

Reactions to the recently imposed U.S. sanctions against Mir Rahman Rahmani, the former speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament, and his son, Ajmal Rahmani, are intensifying amid allegations of extensive corruption.

Mir Rahman Rahmani refuted the accusations, urging the U.S. judiciary to hold accountable those responsible for disseminating the U.S. Treasury report through legal and judicial channels. The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday sanctioned the Rahmanis for their “extensive roles in transnational corruption” and implicated 44 associated entities.

The charges include deliberately causing inflation in contracts, tax fraud, fuel theft, parliamentary corruption, and citizenship acquisition by investments.

The United States alleges that they stole millions from the support funds of Afghanistan’s security forces. Chargé d’Affaires Karen Decker stated that the Rahmanis “stole millions of dollars meant to support the Afghan security forces,” and she emphasized the massive fraud scheme’s impact on both the U.S. and Afghanistan.

University professor Akmal Baqa views the U.S. actions as a positive step against alleged thieves of the past two decades, provided there are no deep political plans behind these actions.

The sanctions extend beyond Mir Rahman Rahmani and Ajmal Rahmani, encompassing 44 affiliated entities, including companies from Germany, Cyprus, the UAE, Afghanistan, Austria, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria. The U.S. Treasury Department also designates two German companies pursuant to Executive Order 13818.

Political analyst Wahid Faqiri expressed hope that the Treasury Department and the U.S. government would impose sanctions against all individuals involved in looting and theft of Afghanistan’s assets.

Mir Rahman Rahmani vehemently rejected the U.S. Treasury’s accusations, calling it “against global principles” and requesting cooperation from U.S. judicial authorities for a prompt investigation into the report’s dissemination.

Legal expert Javad Jurat emphasized that pursuing corruption cases would benefit the people of Afghanistan only if it remains free from political motivations.

Despite ongoing investigations by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), there has been no recent formal reaction from SIGAR on this matter.