SIGAR has published its quarterly report to Congress on the situation in Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan has been writing quarterly reports for over a decade.
The first part of this report spotlights the Afghan media. Over the past year, under the Taliban rule, Afghanistan has lost almost 40% of its media outlets and 60% of its journalists. Over 230 media outlets have closed since August 2021. About 84% of the women journalists have lost their jobs.
Additional highlights of the report include:
The persecution of women and girls continues under the Taliban regime. Over three million girls who previously had attended secondary school are no longer attending classes. In October, the U.S. Department of State announced visa restrictions of Taliban individuals believed to be responsible for the repression of and violence against women and girls.
Food scarcity and malnutrition continues to be a severe problem in Afghanistan. Over 90% of the population is experiencing insufficient food consumption. Millions of Afghans face potentially life-threatening levels of hunger – some at near-famine conditions. Afghan families are rationing food or skipping meals. The World Food Program is requiring over $1.14 billion to sustain its operations in the coming winter months in Afghanistan.
The Afghan economy has contracted by 20% since the Taliban takeover of the country over one year ago. As many as 700,000 jobs have disappeared and there is no prospect of the economy recovering in the near future. Droughts and severe flash flooding are adding to the misery of the Afghan people. Floods have damaged croplands, livestock, and agricultural projects. While the Taliban announced a ban on narcotics they are turning a blind eye to the poppy fields in the southern provinces that contribute to the Afghan economy.
Since August 2021 over $1 billion in U.S. assistance has found its way to Afghanistan. How those funds are spent is unclear. The Treasury Department and USAID are not providing information to SIGAR and are refusing to cooperate. The State Department has been selective in what information is provided to SIGAR. This has made it difficult for SIGAR to inform Congress and the American people on how the money is being spent in Afghanistan.
Quarterly Report to the United States Congress, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), October 30, 2022, PDF, 177 pages.