Why is the US Sending Dollars to Afghanistan on Behalf of the International Community?

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On August 15, 2022, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan after two decades hiatus. However, the Taliban leadership has not been recognized by any state or international organization. Nevertheless, despite the Taliban’s problem of recognition, the international community continues to send aid to Afghanistan under the guise of “humanitarian aid.” In fact, every week since September 2022, 40 million dollars have been sent to Afghanistan. In the latest statement of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, which is under the control of the Taliban, it was announced that 1 billion 633 million dollars have been sent to the country within the scope of humanitarian aid since August 2021.[1]

Predictably, the source of this money, how it will be spent, and how much of it is spent are causing serious controversy. Taliban opponents, especially the Penshir Movement, describe as a paradox the fact that the international community sends financial aid to the country despite not recognizing the Taliban administration and accuse the West of indirectly strengthening the Taliban. The opponents also question how and where the money sent was spent.

Moreover, it is seen that financial aid is being discussed not only in Afghanistan but also in the US. In fact, in the latest report published by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), it was emphasized that the US was the state that helped Afghanistan the most, but the Joe Biden administration did not inform the institution about the details of the aid.[2] SIGAR explained that since the Taliban regained dominance in Afghanistan, the US has sent 1.1 billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan and has not been able to share information about it with the public and congress. SIGAR also stated that these funds are not used for infrastructure projects.[3]

As it is known, the US Congress established SIGAR in 2008 to independently supervise the projects put forward for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. It can be stated that the main mission of the institution is to ensure the effective implementation of the projects developed at the point of reconstruction of Afghanistan and to prevent the misuse of resources. For this reason, SIGAR prepares reports on the activities carried out in Afghanistan at intervals of three months and submits them to the Congress and the US public. Indeed, before the Taliban dominated Afghanistan, SIGAR had an office within the US Embassy in Kabul. The institution was conducting investigations through the office.[4]

Following SIGAR’s allegations, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the institution’s authority was limited to examining aid in infrastructure areas and did not cover humanitarian aid. Price noted that after the Taliban dominated Afghanistan, development aid to the country was halted and the US focused on humanitarian aid.[5] Therefore, according to Price’s statements, this issue is outside the jurisdiction of SIGAR. SIGAR has suggested that the difference between development aid and humanitarian aid is very small, or even there is no difference at all.[6]

According to the data shared by SIGAR, a third of the humanitarian aid going to Afghanistan is sent by the US on behalf of the international community, and the rest is sent by other Western states with the approval of the Washington administration. There is also the assistance of the United Nations. In the past, when SIGAR criticized Washington administration for not supporting Afghanistan enough, the government announced its readiness to cooperate, but this time there was an scolding that drew attention to SIGAR’s lack of authority. It can be said that there are various reasons why Washington has developed such an attitude.

First of all, it can be mentioned that the Biden administration believes that SIGAR will not be able to get the authority to review humanitarian aid from Congress, relying on the Democrats’ majority in Congress after the recent elections. This can be attributed to the fact that the criticisms of the institution are not taken seriously.

Secondly, the Biden administration may be preferring that the money sent remain secret.  Because the US refuses to send money directly on the grounds that it does not recognize the Taliban and carries out its assistance through international organizations and non-governmental organizations. However, it is inevitable that these funds will fall into the hands of the Taliban. Therefore, Washington refrains from revealing that SIGAR’s investigations revealed that the taxes paid by the American people somehow went to the Taliban.

Third, the US considers sending aid to Afghanistan important to its long-term strategic interests. Because the Taliban administration cares about relations with the US. Undoubtedly, financial aid is one of the reasons why the Taliban looks warmly at the US. In fact, it is claimed that the US has recently allowed the printing of Afghan banknotes and that intelligence-level meetings have been held between the parties. In other words, instead of marginalizing the Taliban, the U. wants to make some concessions and make its demands accepted. Moreover, it can be stated that the US wants to prevent the depreciation of the Afghan currency by sending dollars to Afghanistan before Afghan banknotes reach Kabul.

Finally, it should be noted that by sending dollars to Afghanistan, the US is trying to prevent the Taliban from getting closer to the actors opposing the American leadership. Because various states, especially Russia, are disturbed by this aid. This can be understood from the Kremlin administration’s increasing pressure on the Taliban. In fact, the claims that the Taliban was established by the US have recently started to be voiced in Russia. In fact, Russia did not include the Taliban in the meeting on Afghanistan held in Moscow.

As can be seen, the U.S. continues to be interested in Afghanistan despite withdrawing from the country. In this context, on the one hand, is establishing relations with Taliban opponents, and on the other hand, is making moves that it believes will enable the Taliban to take steps in line with the demands of the international community. At this point, it can be said that the biggest trump card the US has is financial aid. In this context, the Washington administration wants an inclusive government to be established in Afghanistan and emphasizes that it will put pressure on the Taliban for this.[7]

Consequently, the US is looking for ways to persuade the Taliban by using its economic power while directing Taliban opponents away from the military option to a diplomatic solution. All this information indicates that a formula such as the Bonn Conference will be on the agenda. However, the Taliban are unwilling to share power. This stands out as the biggest challenge facing Washington in its Afghanistan policy.

[1] “میزان کمک‌های نقدی به افغانستان به یک میلیارد و ۶۳۳ میلیون دالر رسید”, Etilaatroz,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

[2] “انتقاد سیگار از عدم همکاری حکومت بایدن در زمینۀ بررسی کمک‌های بشری به افغانستان”, VOA,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

[3] “تحقیقات در مورد انتقال پول به افغانستان؛ سیگار: دولت بایدن کارشکنی می‌کند”, 8am,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

[4] “اداره سر مفتش ویژه برای بازسازی افغانستان”, SIGAR,, (Erişim Tarihi: 15.11.2022).

[5] “ند پرایس: سیگار صلاحیت نظارت بر کمک‌های بشردوستانه امریکا به افغانستان را ندارد”, Afintl,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

[6] “انتقاد سیگار از عدم همکاری حکومت بایدن در زمینۀ بررسی کمک‌های بشری به افغانستان”, VOA,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

[7] “وزارت خارجه امریکا بر «انتقال منظم قدرت» به حکومت فراگیر در افغانستان تاکید کرد”, Afintl,, (Date of Accession: 15.11.2022).

Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar, 2013 yılında Kunduz Üniversitesi Hukuk ve Siyaset Bilimi Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi Anabilim Dalı’nda “Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ve Afganistan İslam Cumhuriyeti Anayasalarında Güçler Ayrılığı İlkesi Üzerine Karşılaştırmalı Bir Analiz” başlıklı teziyle 2019 yılında almıştır. Çeşitli bilimsel etkinliklere katılan Dawlatyar, Afganistan sorunuyla ilgili bildiriler ve makaleler sunmuştur. Bu kapsamda “Afganistan Sorununun Dini ve İdeolojik Nedenleri” başlıklı sunumu yayınlanmıştır. Halihazırda Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. ANKASAM bünyesinde yürütülen çalışmalara katkıda bulunan Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar’ın başlıca çalışma alanları Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Dawlatyar, anadil seviyesinde Farsça, Özbekçe, Türkçe ve Peştunca dillerine hakimdir. Ayrıca orta düzeyde İngilizce bilmektedir.