U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz seeks to pressure the Biden administration to explain what happened to more than $1 billion in taxpayer funding that went to the Taliban after President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal last year.
Fox Business reported on Friday that “several” federal agencies are refusing to explain or account for $1.1 billion that went to Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, is the watchdog responsible for overseeing the funding.
Yet the Biden administration is not telling, the first time in history that any administration has refused to provide answers.
“SIGAR, for the first time in its history, is unable this quarter to provide Congress and the American people with a full accounting of this U.S. government spending due to the non-cooperation of several U.S. government agencies,” Inspector General John Sopko wrote in the agency’s most recent quarterly report.
Sopko added that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Treasury Department “refused to cooperate with SIGAR in any capacity.”
The State Department, meanwhile, offered “selective” cooperation.
Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued letters to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and US AID Administrator Samantha Power demanding that they detail what happened to the $1.1 billion that went to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan since the U.S. exit in August 2021, Fox Business reported.
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Gaetz wrote to the agencies that it was “shocking, and maddening, that much of these illicit fund transfers are unaccounted for because your Department withheld information in violation of federal law.”
In an interview, Gaetz told Fox Business, “57 times when SIGAR has issued their quarterly report they have declined to level this type of an indictment against [the] Trump Administration, the Obama Administration, or the Bush Administration … the unwillingness to participate in transparency is the highest with the Biden government after the Biden government left the Taliban a military and now insists on unreviewed transfers of aid that has already exceeded a billion dollars.”
“We are entering the era of investigations and oversight and in the upcoming Republicans Congress we’re going to have an ability to haul in administrative officials and get answers,” he added. “This is going to be near the top of my list on the Armed Services Committee.”
In addition to the more than $1 billion sent to the Taliban that is unaccounted for, the Biden administration also left $7 billion in U.S. military equipment to the terrorist group during the hasty retreat from Afghanistan last year.