As US freezes funds, a harsh winter awaits cash-strapped Afghans

Published : 29 Oct 2021 09:38 PM | Updated : 01 Nov 2021 01:18 PM

In its latest report to the United States Congress, the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has detailed Washington’s decision to cut off the Taliban government’s access to billions in funds and assets that has led to devastation across the cash-strapped nation.

The top watchdog report says that over the 20-year US occupation, Washington spent $146bn in Afghanistan’s reconstruction, including $89bn on training and supporting the country’s National Security Forces “which no longer exists”.

The report goes on to say that “other reconstruction objectives, such as to assist women and girls or to establish the rule of law, are under direct threat from the new Taliban regime”.

Read more: Afghan girls keep learning amid Taliban curbs

After the Taliban toppled the Western-led government in the middle of August, the US, along with international bodies including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), decided to cut off Afghanistan’s access to more than $9.5bn in assets and loans.

The decision has had a devastating effect on Afghanistan’s healthcare and other sectors, all of which are struggling to continue operations amid cutbacks to international aid.