Biden Admin Funneled $1.3 Million to Taliban, Audit Finds

Taliban member (Nava Jamshidi/Getty Images)
May 2, 2024

The Biden administration funneled nearly $1.3 million to the Taliban as part of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan that are being administered by the United States, according to a government oversight group.

Since 2021, when the Biden administration conducted its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has allocated millions to weapons removal projects. As part of these activities, the U.S. government and its partners inside Afghanistan "have paid Taliban entities nearly $1.3 million in taxes, including $138,000 this quarter," according to an audit by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which monitors America's $17 billion post-withdrawal investment in the country.

Another $5 million in U.S. funds remain available for future weapons removal projects, which will likely have to be conducted with the Taliban's blessing. The United States' payments to the Taliban—which seized power during the Biden administration's evacuation—come amid warnings that Afghanistan "is once again becoming a terrorist haven," according to SIGAR. The oversight group has repeatedly warned that billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars are potentially being diverted to the Taliban and that this money cannot be properly tracked because the Biden administration is stonewalling investigations.

With billions in taxpayer dollars still flowing into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, terror attacks from inside the country are on the rise. The Taliban government "remain[s] tolerant of some terror groups, such as al Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan," according to SIGAR. Other militant groups, including ISIS, are also expanding their operations in Afghanistan and maintain the ability to launch attacks on U.S. and Western interests abroad.

ISIS-K, for instance, "retains the capability and will to attack U.S. and Western interests abroad in as little as six months and with little to no warning," Gen. Michael Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.

The Taliban continues to enforce its strict interpretation of Islamic law, which includes booting women out of the public sector and banning girls from attending schools.

In March, Taliban leaders defended the stoning and flogging of women who violate religious laws, according to documentation provided by SIGAR.

The deteriorating human rights situation has forced many Afghans to flee the country, with a sizable portion arriving at the U.S. southern border.

"Groups of 30-40 Afghans, including adults and children, made the journey across 13 countries from Brazil to the U.S.-Mexico border, using a variety of transportation methods including planes, trains, buses, and by foot," SIGAR reported, citing interviews with refugees.

"Many of those interviewed said SIGAR was the first U.S. government agency to contact them since their arrival," indicating that the U.S. government is not undertaking a coordinated effort to track those entering the country.

Afghans trying to obtain asylum in America said they "often had to pay bribes to police officers" in a range of countries along the way, "since they entered those countries illegally."

Upon arriving at the U.S. southern border, one refugee recounted being "greeted by a border agent who told them, 'Welcome to America.'"