US Senate panel passes Afghan accountability act
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A key Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill seeking to promote increased accountability for American assistance in Afghanistan and calling on the secretary of state to develop a multi-year strategy in this regard.
Passed by the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, Afghanistan Accountability Act of 2015, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez, authorises funds to support the Afghan government's anti-corruption and audit institutions as well as civil society and human rights watchdog groups.
It also authorises funds to improve oversight and accountability of the Afghan National Security Forces (including the police) and civil society watchdogs.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Senator Marco Rubio, among other things authorizes the transfer of funds for Afghanistan to be used in neighboring countries as needed to promote regional economic integration.
It requires a report by GAO on long term development programming conducted by the US military, ways to improve coordination between the US development agencies and the US military and on Commander’s Emergency Response Program.
It requires an annual report on potential cases of corruption by Afghan government officials or their relatives.
The bill seeks to promote increased accountability for US assistance in Afghanistan, while supporting programs that strengthen Afghan institutions tasked with combating corruption. With Afghanistan experiencing ongoing security and political transitions, this legislation seeks to ensure that continued US investments pay the greatest development dividends.
“Though Afghanistan stands at a crossroads, the National Unity Government is confronting the nation’s challenges head on by demonstrating an important commitment to accountability and good governance,” Menendez said.
This bill ensured the United States would take additional steps to bolster the capacity of Afghan institutions so that they can be more accountable and responsive to the country's citizens and international donors, he added.
“Our hard-fought gains cannot be reversed. We must provide the right tools to the Afghan government to make sure our investments are used wisely going forward,” Menendez concluded.
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