Government-by-Government Assessments: Afghanistan

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took over Kabul.  The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to recognize the Taliban or any other entity as the Government of Afghanistan or as part of such a government.  During the review period, the pre-August 15 government met minimum requirements of transparency.  From January 1 to August 15, 2021, the government’s relevant budget and information on debt obligations was widely and easily accessible to the public, including online.  The budget was substantially complete and generally reliable.  The supreme audit institution reviewed the government’s accounts and made its reports publicly available.  The process for allocating licenses and contracts for natural resource extraction was outlined in law and appeared to be followed in practice.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available.  Since August 2021, no entity has taken actions to ensure Afghanistan is meeting minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.  No entity has published an executive budget proposal or end-of-year report within a reasonable period.  Without a budget, there was no reliable breakdown of expenditures to support executive offices.  the budgets of the Taliban’s so-called “military” and “intelligence services” were not made public.  The Taliban’s so-called “caretaker government”, which has not been recognized by the United States, published timely information on debt obligations.  The expenditure and revenue data that was published, despite the absence of a budget, did not correspond to actual revenues or expenditures.  There were no reports or follow-up audits published by a government audit institution after August 15.

Fiscal transparency of the so-called “interim government” announced by the Taliban would be improved by:

  • Publishing timely and complete budget information; and
  • Ensuring actual revenues and expenditures correspond to published data.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future