On Tuesday, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent letters to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking them to investigate reports that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul, Afghanistan, with over $169 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars intended to assist the Afghan people.

In a press release, Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY) and Subcommittee on National Security Ranking Member Glenn Grothman (R-WI) urged the Biden administration to do “everything in its power to seize any illicitly gained funds that were corruptly embezzled by President Ghani.” With the Taliban now in control of Afghanistan for the first time in nearly twenty years, the lawmakers wrote: 

“President Ghani may have been self-dealing with U.S. funds intended for the Afghan people, having fled the country with enormous sums of cash totaling well over a hundred million dollars. If true, this was not the dignified exit of a benevolent head of state but that of a coward and grifter. The United States must do everything in its power to seize any illicitly gained funds that were corruptly embezzled by President Ghani. If he diverted funds from their intended purposes, the U.S. should bring him to justice.”

“It is unclear how President Ghani obtained such a large sum of cash, but the amount and nature of his flight from Afghanistan raises the specter that President Ghani illegally and corruptly embezzled these funds from U.S. assistance intended for the Afghan people’s welfare and defense, It is imperative that corrupt foreign government officials not be permitted to personally enrich themselves with U.S. taxpayer money intended to safeguard the welfare and security of the Afghan people. This is particularly the case where President Ghani’s reckless and cowardly actions likely contributed to the speed with which the Taliban took over the country and led to the resulting chaotic situation now faced by American citizens and our allies.”  

The GOP lawmakers are requesting immediate briefings to learn how President Ghani collected and transported the funds, the plan for recovering American taxpayer money, and an explanation of how the U.S. government will bring President Ghani to justice if he violated criminal statutes.

To aid the Republicans on the Oversight Committee in leading critical oversight into the “potential embezzlement of U.S. taxpayer money initially intended to assist and secure the people of Afghanistan,” the GOP lawmakers asked the SoS Blinken and AG Garland to provide a staff-level briefing and all necessary information sufficient to answer the following questions:

    1. Is the U.S. Department of Justice investigating reports that President Ashraf Ghani transported millions of dollars in cash with him during his flight from Afghanistan?
    2. Was the cash embezzled from accounts funded with U.S. taxpayer funds or other international assistance provided to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan? If not, what does the U.S. Department of Justice assess to be the provenance of the cash in President Ghani’s possession?
    3. If the funds in Ghani’s possession were illegally embezzled from U.S. assistance to the Afghan government for purposes of reconstruction, what is the U.S. Government planning to do, in partnership with our allies, to seize and recover those funds? On what legal authority would the government rely on to seize and recover such funds?
    4. If President Ghani engaged in corrupt actions as President of Afghanistan to enrich himself at the expense of the U.S. taxpayers, what is the U.S. Government planning to do, in partnership with our allies, to bring him to justice? What criminal statutes may have been violated in this case?

Demanding answers right away, the lawmakers gave a deadline of no later than August 31, 2021.