Afghanistan refutes US audit report on aid money

The Afghan govt refuted findings from a scathing US report that said Kabul officials are thwarting US efforts.

Kabul: The Afghan government on Tuesday refuted
findings from a scathing US report that said Kabul officials
are thwarting US efforts to protect American aid money from
being stolen.

The Finance Ministry said it welcomes American
scrutiny of where billions of US reconstruction dollars are
being spent but denied a statement by the acting Special
Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, Herbert
Richardson, that Afghanistan`s central bank was hostile to
international advisers.

The exchange is the latest in an increasingly
deteriorating relationship between President Hamid Karzai`s
government and the United States, which has poured more than
USD 70 billion in aid to Afghanistan since it invaded the
country to oust the Taliban in late 2001 after the September
11 attacks.

The Afghan ministry said one recommendation from the
US report on how to improve the situation in one of
Afghanistan`s largest private banks, Kabul Bank, would violate
Afghan law.

It also acknowledged that the Afghan government`s
relationship with the US Treasury representative in
Afghanistan has been strained during the past year, adding the
situation would improve if the American were replaced.

With US-Afghan relations at a new low, Karzai`s
government has also become increasingly vocal in its criticism
of how the war against the Taliban is being carried out by the
US-led coalition.
Last week Richardson`s office, known as SIGAR, charged
that Karzai had banned US Treasury officials from his
country`s central bank, hampering work to fight the flow of
money to insurgents. SIGAR said two Treasury advisers will not
return because working conditions at the bank have become too

The Finance Ministry said the central bank "refutes
that its environment is hostile to international advisers and
is actively seeking renewed support to assist it in
implementing a series of measures agreed with the
International Monetary Fund to strengthen the financial
It added that although the government "counts on the
partnership and cooperation of the US Treasury," it
acknowledged that over the past year the "relationship with
the current US Treasury attache has been strained, and it
looks forward to the opportunity to renew its past helpful and
professional partnership when an effective partner is

Bureau Report

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