A report released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reveals that Taliban forces in Afghanistan are fighting with fuel, weapons, and ammunition paid for by American taxpayers.
The new government report indicates that “corruption continues to be one of the most serious threats to the U.S.-funded Afghanistan reconstruction effort,” and “Taliban commanders give instructions to their forces to buy weapons, ammunition, and fuel from the Afghan army and police.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Taliban continues to grow and regain territory once held by U.S.–allied Afghan forces, despite the U.S. investing billions of dollars in the effort.
“The theft of fuel not only robs U.S. taxpayers and damages the reconstruction effort, but stolen fuel and profits from selling it can wind up in the hands of insurgents,” according to a new SIGAR report authored to inform the new Congress and incoming Trump administration.
“SIGAR has been told that a high percentage of fuel has been stolen and that Taliban commanders give instructions to their forces to buy weapons, ammunition, and fuel from the Afghan army and police,” inspectors found.
“A significant portion—perhaps as much as half—of U.S. purchased fuel is siphoned off at various stages of this compromised system, wasting U.S. taxpayer dollars and handicapping Afghan security forces.”
John Sopko, head of SIGAR, disclosed in remarks earlier this week that the Taliban has become part of the U.S.-funded supply chain in Afghanistan:
“There is evidence that the Taliban have instructed their field commanders to simply purchase U.S. supplied weapons, fuel, and ammunition from the Afghan government because it is both easier and less expensive for the insurgents to do so,” Sopko said on Wednesday. “It’s nice to know the Taliban are now part of our supply chain.”
One U.S. official familiar with the sale of weapons told the Washington Free Beacon that this has been happening for quite some time in Afghanistan.
Officials working in the U.S. embassy and other military offices all have confirmed that the Taliban is purchasing U.S. weapons and siphoning off large amounts of fuel, explained the source, who was not authorized to speak on record.
The report concludes, “With a new U.S. President and Cabinet assuming office, it is an appropriate time to consider U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. The choices are not easy, the outcomes are not guaranteed, and the stakes are high.”
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