Officials at the State Department came under fire on Thursday, with U.S. senators asking questions about corruption in Afghanistan. Lawmakers say the corruption could affect future spending, which equates to billions of dollars each year.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez said, “I don’t know what the political will here in the United States will be to continue to support the Afghans in light of what is going on there.
Menendez, who says he is an avid supporter of U.S./Afghanistan policy, said he would have a “different view” if the Kabul government stands idly by and does nothing.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released a report on Wednesday that criticized Washington for sending billions of dollars to Afghanistan with little oversight. The spending, the report argued, fueled corruption and compromised the U.S.’s mission.
Each year, the U.S. spends $5 billion in Afghanistan on civilian assistance and national security. Billions more are spent on military contractors and troops.
Richard Olsen, a State Department representative for Afghanistan, said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was a “committed partner” in the fight against corruption. Olsen said Ghani has taken measures to address the scandal involving Kabul Bank and has also established a committee to evaluate and monitor corruption.