Foreign Ops Subcommittee Discusses Corruption In Afghanistan, Potential Of Withholding Non-Humanitarian Funding

Ahead of Wednesday’s mark-up of the FY 2011 state and foreign ops appropriations bill, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog examines recent comments made by House Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) in which she “promised … to remove all the Afghanistan foreign operations and aid money from next year’s funding unless she can be assured none of the funds are being wasted due to corruption in the Afghanistan government.”

According to a spokesperson for Lowey, her comments came Monday after several media reports of abuses of aid money in Afghanistan and reports that President Hamid Karzai “is protecting high-level political officials from scrutiny related to the missing funds,” the blog writes.

“Lowey’s spokesman told The Cable that the largest pots of money to be affected are about $3.3 billion in economic support funds and about $450 million requested for anti-narcotics and law enforcement aid to Afghanistan. Other accounts to be excluded include global health money, anti-terrorism funds, and military training funds for Afghanistan army officers. Humanitarian aid would not be affected,” according to the blog.

It remains unclear “exactly how Lowey’s bill will be treated after it passes out of her committee” or how the Afghan government and the Obama administration would prove that U.S. funds into Afghanistan are not being misused, according to the blog.

In a statement released Monday, Kay Granger (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the committee, seconded Lowey’s concerns about the misuse of donor funds in Afghanistan. However, she said, “I cannot support cancelling all FY2011 Afghanistan funding for the State Department and USAID until all the facts are clear and we know the impact this could have on our troops on the ground. When General Petraeus helped craft the current Afghan strategy last year it was not exclusively a military strategy – the State Department and USAID were intended to be key partners in the overall effort” (Rogin, 6/28).

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