In a scathing new report, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) revealed that bureaucratic dysfunction and understaffing undermine President Biden’s commitment to assist and resettle tens of thousands of Afghan allies. The report comes shortly after the administration pointed fingers at the Trump administration for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
SIGAR’s 2023 High-Risk List report identifies significant accounting problems with the $8 billion the U.S. has sent to the Afghan people since the withdrawal in August 2021. In addition, the watchdogs for the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development testified to Congress in a hearing titled “The Biden Administration’s Disastrous Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Part I: Review by the Inspectors General.”
Afghanistan IG report hammers Biden administration for 'dysfunction' days after White House blames Trump https://t.co/pBXCg0pFlF
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In their continuous efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable for the crisis, the GOP emphasized the need for thorough investigation and oversight. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-KY) criticized the administration for “actively obstructing meaningful congressional oversight.” The White House called GOP-led attacks on its handling of Afghanistan “politically motivated.”
Despite Biden assuring U.S. allies in July 2021 that they would not be left behind, the SIGAR report states that “the United States has left most of its allies behind, and it will take a year, on average, until each family reaches safety.” The report also revealed that around 175,000 Afghans are still waiting for the Biden administration to process their Special Immigration Visas (SIVs), which are in essence refugee applications. The current processing pace indicates the government will require more than 30 years to relocate and resettle all SIV applicants.
The report also exposes many issues plaguing the SIV program, including “chronic understaffing, reliance on antiquated IT systems, and inadequate interagency coordination.” Furthermore, the SIGAR identified various risks of waste, fraud, mismanagement, or mission failure affecting the entire Afghanistan operation.
The Biden administration earlier this month released its assessment of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, blaming former President Trump’s administration for constraining the conditions of evacuation. The White House review accused Trump of empowering the Taliban by engaging in peace talks without consulting U.S. allies and partners in the region.
However, SIGAR’s report challenges the White House narrative, highlighting the Biden administration’s inability to fulfill its promises and protect its allies. As Afghanistan faces a “humanitarian catastrophe” caused by the brutal Taliban regime, Republicans continue to press for answers and seek justice for the mishandled withdrawal.