Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Over two decades the United States and its international partners poured billions in humanitarian aid into Afghanistan. Much of that aid went into the pockets of the Taliban.
After Biden’s retreat, the Taliban have consolidated control over Afghanistan. And over all the hungry children, the girls deprived of an education, and all the other sob stories that kept a river of private charity and taxpayer money flowing into a hellhole in which nothing ever got better.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
At an aid conference hosted by the UN, the UK, Germany and the Islamic terror state of Qatar, which backs the Taliban, $2.4 billion was raised for Afghanistan. The hosts had demanded over $4.4 billion which would have been the largest amount ever raised for any nation.
The Biden administration kicked in another $204 million.
That’s on top of the $782 million in “humanitarian aid” allocated to Afghanistan last year since the Taliban took over. This year, Biden signed an executive order allocating $3.5 billion of the Afghan assets held in the Federal Reserve for the same purpose. But even not counting those funds, Biden has dedicated $986 million to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over.
That’s nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money and nearly $4.5 billion in total funds.
The Biden administration keeps insisting that the money won’t go to the Taliban. That’s as plausible as its previous claims that the Afghan government wouldn’t collapse, that if it did we would be ready, and that all Americans would be evacuated before Kabul fell to the enemy.
There’s no one with less credibility on Afghanistan than a member of the Biden administration.
Biden’s UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, claimed that, “this humanitarian aid, like all aid from the United States, will go directly to NGOs and the United Nations. The Taliban will not control our humanitarian funding.”
Since the Taliban control Afghanistan, they control the non-profit NGOs and the UN presence in what is now their country. Anyone who directs money into Afghanistan is funding the Taliban.
The Taliban have already unveiled a “Monitoring and Control Plan of NGOs” which would allow the Islamic terror group to control everything that NGOs do with their aid. This is just the latest incarnation of the Taliban’s old Commission for the Arrangement and Control of Companies and Organizations which included NGO coordinators and which padded the pockets of the Taliban with our aid. And the Taliban have already taken to seizing aid sent into the terror state.
In the Ghor province, the Taliban ruler announced that he was taking control over the NGOs and ordered them to turn over the money and pursue whatever projects the terrorists decided were worthwhile. Those who resisted were locked up, and while the order may be temporarily in abeyance after foreign protests, the terrorists keep testing us to see what they can away with.
The Taliban have been hungry to get their hands on foreign aid, but, likely guided by their Qatari backers, they’ve also been clever about it. They proposed a joint body with the international community to dispense aid. When that didn’t work, they went back to their usual strategy of pressuring NGOs to hire Taliban members to determine where the aid should go and who should distribute it. But that’s just a matter of cutting out the middleman for more direct control.
Since the NGOs rely heavily on local labor, all the Taliban have to do is intimidate Afghan employees into following their orders. And for a terror group that practices mutilation and beheading, that’s not hard. Does anyone really believe that an Afghan with a wife and children living under Taliban rule is going to follow our aid guidelines rather than those of the gunmen?
The Taliban, like the Houthis in Yemen and other Islamic terror groups who both cause and profit from famines, have already been distributing and taking credit for humanitarian aid.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also set up a “humanitarian trust fund” at a meeting hosted by Pakistan, a strong supporter of the Taliban, under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank together with “international actors”. One can only imagine where it will go.
NGOs are using Hawalas to move money into Afghanistan in order to bypass our sanctions on the Taliban. That means it’s quite likely that international aid money is already crossing streams with funds being funneled to not only the Taliban, but also to Al Qaeda and ISIS-K.
And since the Taliban control Afghanistan, they’re also able to tax the Hawala system which means that any money we transfer, as Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield put it, “directly to NGOs” and is then moved by them to Afghanistan through Hawalas will go to the Taliban.
And that will be the first of a series of ways that the Taliban will profit from our humanitarian aid.
Humanitarian aid remains a major asset for Islamic terrorists from Hamas in Gaza to the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. While opium and rare earths are assets that require a great deal of labor and risk to exploit, foreign aid just shows up.
The Taliban continue to engage in diplomacy because we keep sending them money. But much as the Islamic terror group kept negotiating with us while plotting to seize the country, their willingness to engage in diplomacy doesn’t mean that they’ve become moderate. Only that the terrorists are once again playing on our naive faith in the power of international diplomacy.
After two decades of funding the Taliban with our efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, we’re still at it.
Portions of the nearly $1 billion in foreign aid stolen from the paychecks of American workers and the mouths of their children will be used to finance a new Jihad against Western nations.
A generation after 9/11, Americans are once again funding the terrorists who are out to kill them.