Afghan government institutions and leaders must be transparent and accountable to the Afghan people. We stand against those who exploit their positions of power and influence to deprive the Afghan people of the benefits of foreign assistance and a more prosperous future.
We expect the assistance funds we provide to Afghanistan to serve the interests of all Afghan citizens. Due to identified Afghan Government corruption and financial mismanagement, the U.S. Government is returning approximately $100 million to the U.S. Treasury that was intended for a large energy infrastructure project. While we are still fulfilling our commitment to complete the project, which consists of five substations and other transmission infrastructure between Ghazni and Kandahar and Kajaki and Kandahar, we will be using a U.S. Government “off-budget” mechanism given the Afghan government’s inability to transparently manage U.S. Government resources.
Lack of transparency surrounding procurement decisions by the National Procurement Authority is also great cause for concern. We will be withholding $60 million in planned assistance due to the government’s failure to meet benchmarks for transparency and accountability in public financial management.
We also have concluded that the Afghan government’s Monitoring and Evaluation Committee is incapable of being a partner in the international effort to build a better future for the Afghan people. We will cease funding to this entity at the end of this calendar year. We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people, and to maintain their trust. Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable.
American taxpayers and the Afghan people can count on the United States to act when we see assistance funds misused.