Key House Appropriator Threatens Afghan Aid Cut

Afghan National Police officers give medicine and clothing to children in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Photo by: Corey Idleburg / isafmedia / CC BY 2.0 isafmediaCC BY 2.0

Outraged over the alleged shipment of U.S. aid dollars out of Afghanistan, a U.S. House legislator announced her intention to cut U.S. funding for the country and called for oversight hearings to investigate the corruption reports.

“I do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to Afghanistan until I have confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords, and terrorists,” said Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chair of the House appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations.

The subcommittee is scheduled to vote Wednesday (June 30) on the fiscal 2011 appropriations bill for foreign operations. It will not consider bilateral assistance to Afghanistan other than humanitarian aid, according to a news release from Lowey’s office.

Lowey said the subcommittee will hold oversight hearings after Congress’ break next week to “get to the bottom” of the allegations.

The lawmaker’s statements were in response to reports that cash flown out of Afghanistan every year may include money diverted from U.S. aid and security funds and Afghan President Hamid Karzai was protecting high-level officials, according to a spokesperson of Lowey.

As reported by Devex, U.S. and Afghan officials were concerned that corruption was involved in the shipment of some USD3 billion worth of cash out of Afghanistan in the past three years.

Among the funds that will be affected by Lowey’s announcement are approximately USD3.3 billion worth of economic support and USD450 million in law enforcement and anti-narcotics aid to the country. Funds for health assistance, military education and anti-terrorism initiatives will also be affected, Josh Rogin reports on Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog.

The USD33 billion funds requested by Pentagon to pay for the additional 30,000 troops President Barack Obama ordered to be deployed in Afghanistan would not be affected, Reuters reports.

Kay Granger (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on Lowey’s subcommittee, said she shared Lowey’s concerns regarding the allegations of corruptions but explained she cannot “support cancelling all FY2011 Afghanistan funding for the State Department and USAID until all the facts are clear and we know the impact this could have on our troops on the ground,” Rogin reports.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.