Senate Democrats plan to keep supporting Afghanistan’s reconstruction but the spending must be linked to human rights reforms and closer scrutiny of whether the country can maintain its new programs and buildings, says a congressional report due to be released Monday.
The report, compiled by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic majority staff, is designed to be a road map for Afghan leaders eager to keep billions of dollars in U.S. assistance flowing into the country.
The committee’s recommendations were timed for release at the conclusion of Afghanistan’s contentious, year-long election to replace former president Hamid Karzai. In late September, after months of tension over the results of a June runoff, President Ashraf Ghani and second-place finisher Abdullah Abdullah agreed to form a unity government.
They will share appointment powers, creating some concern in Washington that the Afghan government could become bloated with political appointees jockeying for oversight of the budget. The report warns Ghani and Abdullah, country’s chief executive officer, that Congress plans to monitor whom they install in government.
“A higher proportion of U.S. assistance should be conditioned based on specific reforms by the Afghan government,” says the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “The U.S. should make clear to the new government that the appointment process factors into how the U.S. allocates assistance.”