US has restarted development programs in Afghanistan: SIGAR

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A report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said that the US has restored reconstruction programs in Afghanistan.

The SIGAR report also expressed concern about the lack of facilities and budget in the health system and the loss of twenty years of achievements in Afghanistan.

“The Department of State and USAID have restarted reconstruction programs that were active prior to August 2021 and provided new funding for other programs focusing on poverty, hunger, malnutrition, economic stress, health care, agriculture, and education,” SIGAR said.

“The restored reconstruction programs are an important step for trust-building and can help to reduce poverty and help in the health and agriculture sectors, and we welcomed it,” Said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy Minister of Economy.

In the report, SIGAR said that in Afghanistan the health sector faces a lack of budget and expert staff.

“In the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover, the health care sector faced an urgent funding lapse when international support and government funding for Afghanistan’s health sector was immediately halted. The World Bank halted funding for its Sehatmandi program, pushing the health care system to the brink of collapse,” said SIGAR.

Earlier, the deputy minister of the Public Ministry said that more than one billion dollars was promised for the health sector, but the Ministry of Public Health is not involved in how it is spent.

Meanwhile, the final report on the transfer of funds by Ashraf Ghani, the former president of Afghanistan, while he was fleeing the country, has been made public by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

According to the report, this number did not exceed $1 million and may have been closer in value to $500,000.

“Although SIGAR found that some cash was taken from the grounds of the palace and loaded onto President Ghani’s evacuation helicopters, evidence indicates that this number did not exceed $1 million and may have been closer in value to $500,000. Most of this money was believed to have come from several Afghan government operating budgets normally managed at the palace,” the report reads.

SIGAR’s report says that a lot of money was left in government buildings, including those of the president and national security, and has disappeared.

“SIGAR also identified suspicious circumstances in which approximately $5 million in cash was accidentally left behind at the presidential palace. Some or all of this money likely belonged to President Ghani or the government of the United Arab Emirates. Some or all of it was also supposedly divided by members of the Presidential Protective Service after the helicopters departed but before the Taliban captured the palace,” the report reads.

SIGAR further added that former president Ashraf Ghani refused to be interviewed, and his attorney answered only 6 questions out of 56.—Tolonews

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