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SIGAR to probe allegations that Ghani took money from country

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(Last Updated On: October 7, 2021)

John Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said on Wednesday his office would look into allegations that former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took millions of dollars with him when he left the country.

Ghani fled the country on August 15 and reportedly took with him bags stuffed with cash.

Ghani has denied the allegations.

However, speculation has persisted, and US Congress asked Sopko’s team to investigate the allegations.

“We haven’t proven that yet. We’re looking into that. Actually, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked us to look into that,” Sopko told a House of Representatives subcommittee.

SIGAR has long been investigating fraud, waste and abuse during the US’s presence in Afghanistan.

Sopko suggested to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that oversees development aid, that the failure of the U.S. project shouldn’t have been a surprise, given rampant corruption and mismanagement.
“Corruption grew so pervasive that it ultimately threatened the security and reconstruction mission in Afghanistan,” he told the House panel.

The congressional hearing was one of a series looking at the chaotic U.S. withdrawal and the path forward. “We can apply the lessons learned in other conflict zones,” Representative Joaquin Castro, the subcommittee’s Democratic chairman, said.

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China regrets UN Doha meeting’s failure to have dialogue with IEA

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

China’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Yue Xiaoyong, on Saturday regretted that the United Nations’ meeting in Doha on Afghanistan earlier this week failed to have dialogue with the Islamic Emirate.

Yue said on X that the meeting was useful for exchange of views and it made a call for more pragmatic engagement and dialogue with Afghanistan.

“Pity is Doha Afghanistan meeting again failed to have dialogu with Afghan interim government or DFA (IEA) as China and regional countries have been calling,” Yue said.

The envoy said that China called more humanitarian assistance, moderate governance, and women and girls’ education.

China also called on US take major responsibility for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, unfreeze Afghanistan’s overseas assets and lift unilateral sanctions.

China also stressed that it is ready to work harder with UN and regional partners especially through Afghanistan’s nonboring countries foreign ministerial meeting and other platforms to enhance engagement with Afghanistan to help for its peace, stability, reconstruction and common prosperity.

The UN had extended an invitation for IEA officials to participate, following their exclusion from the first meeting in May.

However, the Kabul government said they would not participate in the talks unless they could be the sole representative of Afghanistan at the meetings — to the exclusion of civil society groups.

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Latest World Bank decision will support millions of Afghans: IRC

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has welcomed the latest move by the World Bank to use International Development Association (IDA) funds to scale up support to Afghanistan and expand the scope of its programs, saying these funds will support the delivery of services and access to jobs for Afghans who are continuing to endure a major humanitarian crisis as a result of decades of conflict, climate change and economic turmoil. 

IRC in a statement said that the focus of Approach 3.0 of the World Bank includes the delivery of livelihoods support which will support Afghanistan to at least maintain the current trajectory of low-level economic growth.

“This will be critical to maintaining and stabilizing the Afghan economy, while ensuring the survival of businesses and sources of income for millions. However, Afghanistan’s economic crisis remains the primary driver of the high level of humanitarian needs across the country,” the statement said.

IRC stated that although the announcement of Approach 3.0 represents a new milestone for meeting basic needs in Afghanistan, IRC urges other donors to recognise their role in continuing to contribute to both the delivery of basic services through the World Bank’s Afghanistan Resilience Trust Fund (ARTF) and to the humanitarian response.

All contributions are vital to sustaining support for Afghans, and the international community must continue to provide funding to sustain basic services and prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening, it added.

A week ago, the World Bank Group announced that its executive board endorsed a new approach to aiding Afghanistan that will deploy some $300 million from the bank’s International Development Association fund for poor countries through United Nations agencies and other international organizations.

The shift marks the first time that the World Bank’s own funds would be sent to Afghanistan since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) seized power in August 2021.

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UN Doha meeting reinforced that world remains united on Afghanistan: US envoy

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2024)

The recent UN-sponsored meeting on Afghanistan reinforced that the international community remains largely united and committed to supporting the Afghan people, U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, Rina Amiri, said on Saturday.

Amiri said on X that the meeting also reinforced that the international community remains committed to supporting Afghans’ struggle for economic stability, security and respect for their rights, particularly addressing the plight of Afghan women and girls.

She added that Afghan civil society representatives remained unified in their calls on the international community to factor in the “dire situation” of Afghan women when assessing the security situation in Afghanistan and the importance of including Afghan women and civil society in deliberations on Afghanistan.

The UN-sponsored meeting of countries’ special envoys on Afghanistan was held earlier this week in Doha, the second such meeting since May last year.

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has also said that there remains a strong consensus on collective interests in Afghanistan. 

“No country wants to see emergence of terrorism threat from Afghanistan.  All want to see women and girls return to secondary school, university, work and public life,” West said on X.

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