The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said that the Taliban requested for USAID’s signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and demanded to be more involved in project decision-making and implementation.
SIGAR published its new report on Sunday, quoting the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as saying that Taliban officials increased their unannounced visits to aid implementing partner offices, requesting for information regarding work plans, budgets, operations, and personnel.
While the majority of USAID project activities were not hindered by these actions, USAID’s largest health activity paused in Herat due to a dispute with the Taliban, the report indicated.
The US State Department reported that NGOs supporting the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund’s Health Emergency Response program paused their work in 10 provinces this quarter for similar reasons, SIGAR said.
#USAID’s new policy [on MOUs with the Taliban] prohibits its implementing partners from signing MOUs with Taliban authorities unless submitted to USAID for prior review and approvalhttps://t.co/aBYW9rFoN4
— SIGAR (@SIGARHQ) February 5, 2023
Since the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan, diplomatic relations between this group and almost all western countries were officially cut off, and as a result, the international aid, which mostly reached for the development goals in Afghanistan, has stopped.
In the meantime, most aid groups, including UN agencies, such as UNICEF, WHO, WFP and many national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), prepared to continue working with the slogan “We will stay and help”. The interaction of the Taliban regime with these organizations was mainly a continuation of the approach that was formed between the relief organizations and the Taliban before this group regained power in August 2021. Based on this approach, organizations were allowed to send their employees to the areas under the control of this group and implement projects by following the principles established by the Taliban and obtaining a permit from the Taliban’s Companies and Institutions Commission which had a representative in every province and district.
SIGAR had previously said that American aid to Afghanistan, whether humanitarian or otherwise, may unintentionally legitimize the Taliban.