Afghanistan's government is disputing findings from a recent U.S. report that said Afghan officials are thwarting U.S. efforts to ensure American aid is not stolen.
The Afghan finance ministry said in a statement Tuesday that it welcomes U.S. scrutiny of how aid is spent and continued efforts to increase the “effectiveness and transparency” of American assistance.
The report released last week by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction charged that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had banned U.S. Treasury advisers from Afghanistan's central bank, where they had been working to prevent the flow of money to insurgents. The report described working conditions for the U.S. advisers at the bank as hostile.
The Afghan finance ministry said it takes the U.S. report seriously, but that it is disappointed that, in eight months spent examining the financial sector, the U.S. auditors, in the ministry's words, “were unable” to meet with any finance ministry officials.
The ministry said Afghanistan's central bank denies its environment is hostile to international advisers. It also said that the government would welcome the opportunity to participate in future audits.
The finance ministry also said the central bank is “actively seeking” renewed support in implementing measures agreed with the International Monetary Fund to strengthen Afghanistan's financial sector.
The U.S. Congress has appropriated over $70 billion since 2002 to improve security and development in Afghanistan. However, the Afghan finance ministry said less than $2.1 billion of that money had been channeled through the Afghan government, and only $46 million had been used “at the discretion of the Afghan government.”