U.S. provides $17.19 billion in aid to Afghanistan since August collapse: SIGAR

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has appropriated or made available $17.19 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees since the Taliban’s takeover in August, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reported.

The assistance includes over $2.80 billion in U.S. funds largely for humanitarian and development aid, and $3.50 billion transferred to the Afghan Fund, which aims to maintain macroeconomic stability for the Afghan people. This fund may also support the recapitalization of Afghanistan’s central bank under certain conditions.

Additionally, the Department of Defense has allocated $5.36 billion for Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) to support Afghan evacuees under Operation Allies Welcome through September 30, 2023. An extra $3.00 billion in OHDACA funds was transferred in Fiscal Year 2023 to the State Department to manage the continuation program, Enduring Welcome, employing a total of $5.53 billion for these initiatives.

SIGAR’s report also highlights more than $233 million committed by the U.S. government for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in the first two quarters of Fiscal Year 2024.

The report, however, notes Taliban interference with USAID’s efforts, which include supporting civil society, the media sector, and women and girls, totaling an estimated $156 million. Challenges this quarter included arrests of staff and grantees by Taliban forces, as well as scrutiny from the regime’s intelligence directorate.

Public opinion in Afghanistan is mixed regarding continued U.S. humanitarian aid, with some expressing concern that it inadvertently supports Taliban governance. According to SIGAR, disabled soldiers and families of fallen soldiers from the former government no longer receive aid, while some aid appears to be reaching Taliban-associated entities.

The report also mentions the Afghanistan Trust Fund established in Switzerland, designed to support the Afghan people and potentially assist in recapitalizing the nation’s central bank, though no disbursements have been made yet.