By: Konrad Holden
In an interview with ABC News, Biden’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, did not rule out giving the Taliban direct financial aid after the complete withdrawal of US troops. This is despite the fact that there are international sanctions against the Taliban and that the Taliban has been our enemy for nearly 20 years. The aid would be aimed at the Afghan people but would rely on the Taliban-controlled government to disburse it. Critics are saying that much of the money we’ve sent to Afghanistan over the past 20 years never was placed in the hands of everyday Afghans. Under Taliban rule, any aid we send now would likely not make it to them either.
The US has already given the Taliban enough “foreign aid” in the form of captured humvees, helicopters, weapons, and more.
Now, the Biden administration is considering foreign aid for Afghanistan even though much of it is likely to go directly to the Taliban.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s National Security Advisor, told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that “there is an important dimension of humanitarian assistance that should go directly to the people of Afghanistan...health, and food aid, and other forms of subsistence, and we do intend to continue that.”
This aid would require the Taliban to disburse American funds to its own people.
It seems that Biden wants to use this aid as leverage to get the Taliban to uphold their commitments to helping Americans and Afghan allies get out of the country. Sullivan said the decision whether or not to send aid will be “about the Taliban’s actions.”
Some critics have said that an estimated 50% of our aid to Afghanistan over the past 20 years has been “siphoned off” to warlords, corruption, fraud, and may even have helped to aid the Taliban in its fight against the US. That would certainly happen on a larger scale now that the Taliban is in charge.
“When it comes to our economic and development assistance relationship with the Taliban, that will be about the Taliban’s actions...And we will wait and see, by their actions, how we end up responding.” - Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
“About 50% of American aid to Afghanistan in the past several years has been siphoned off to warlords or to corruption or to fraud...And so with the change in government in Afghanistan I think the odds of using American money to influence events and improve people’s lives are pretty slim.” - Ian Hurd, political science professor at Northwestern University