John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, told Congress on Wednesday that taxpayer dollars are flowing into the Taliban's pockets.
The shocking admission was made during a House Oversight Committee hearing about the Biden administration's disastrous and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
"Unfortunately, as I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban," Sopko said. "Nor can I assure you that the Taliban are not diverting the money we are sending from the intended recipients, which are the poor Afghan people."
Sopko explained that obstruction from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development in the Biden administration has been "unprecedented." He said both agencies have demonstrated an "abject refusal to allow oversight" of the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been sent to Afghanistan.
"I don't trust the Taliban as far as you can throw them," Sopko later said. "The information we're getting — again, not from the State Department, who isn't talking to us, or USAID — is the Taliban is already diverting funds.
"I would just say: I haven't seen a starving Taliban fighter on TV, they all seem to be fat, dumb, and happy," he added. "I see a lot of starving Afghan children on TV, so I’m wondering where all this funding is going."
According to his testimony, the U.S. has "made available" to Afghanistan more than $8 billion since the withdrawal less than two years ago.
Throughout his testimony, Sopko repeatedly returned to the Biden administration's obstruction. In fact, he said SIGAR has not heard from "anybody in the administration, really," and said that routine meetings with top government and military leaders that happened in previous administration have ceased under Biden. Now, it's just "radio silence," he said.
Sopko's eye-opening testimony came about two weeks after the Biden administration released its after-action report about the Afghanistan withdrawal. The report blamed former President Donald Trump for what happened under Biden's watch, completely absolving Biden and his administration.
That blame-game continued on Wednesday prior to the hearing, CNN reported. The White House, moreover, is denying they are obstructing Sopko's oversight efforts.
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