Afghan aid auditor accuses State, USAID of withholding info

The congressionally mandated watchdog for US help to Afghanistan is accusing the State Department and US Agency for International Development of illegally withholding data from it in regards to the American withdrawal from the nation final yr and present coverage.

Amid a spat over what the Biden administration believes to have been a very crucial report in regards to the American pullout, the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, stated the State Department and USAID have been refusing to cooperate together with his workers in violation of the regulation that created the workplace.

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The allegations have been made by in separate letters from Sopko to lawmakers and to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and by Sopko’s common counsel to the highest legal professionals for every company. The letters have been obtained by The Associated Press.

The State Department didn’t deny it had minimize off cooperation with the watchdog. But it complained that the particular inspector had not given the administration an opportunity to reply to its newest report overlaying the withdrawal that was launched final month.

The division stated the report was unfairly adverse and didn’t symbolize the administration’s view of the occasions surrounding the collapse of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban takeover.

In his letters, Sopko was blunt, in search of fast motion from Congress, Blinken and Power to revive the cooperation his workplace has had with their businesses previously.

“I respectfully request that you direct State and USAID officials to cease their illegal obstruction of SIGAR’s oversight work and to provide the requested information and assistance without further delay,” he wrote to Blinken and Power.

Sopko stated his workers had requested quite a few paperwork and interviews with officers who have been concerned within the chaotic withdrawal and aftermath final July however had been stonewalled for a number of months. He stated these requests concerned details about the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan nationals in addition to ongoing humanitarian help and questions on whether or not that help may be transferred to the Taliban.

“It is now evident that offices and staff who have cooperated with similar requests in the past were being silenced or overruled by officials opposed to SIGAR’s independent oversight,” Sopko wrote.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price didn’t have a direct response to the allegations within the letters however voiced the administration’s unhappiness with the final report, which concluded that the withdrawal had been poorly managed and that the collapse of the Afghan authorities and army had not been accurately predicted.

“Our view is that the report does not reflect the consensus view of the State Department or the US government,” Price instructed reporters. “Many parts of the US government, including the State Department, have unique insights and developments in Afghanistan last year that were not captured in the report and we don’t concur with many aspects of the report.”

In addition, Price stated the particular inspector didn’t search State Department enter whereas drafting the April report and didn’t give the division the chance to assessment the draft earlier than it was printed.

Read extra: UN working to provide emergency aid, trauma care to Afghan quake victims

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