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DUBAI: Fuel purchases made for Afghan security forces using US government funds may have included Iranian products in violation of Washington’s sanctions, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar) said in a report published late on Wednesday.
Kabul relies on imported fuel and Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan are the leading countries of origin, the report said. But the watchdog said it could not rule out the possibility of sanctions violations in purchases for the Afghan National Security Forces, financed by the US taxpayer.
“Despite action taken by the Department of Defence (DOD) to prevent the purchase of Iranian fuel with US funds, risks remain that economic sanctions could be violated,” Special Inspector General John Sopko said in the report.
US sanctions intend to starve Tehran of funds for its disputed nuclear programme and include a ban on trade with Iran, including financing its petroleum product purchases.
The DOD is unable to determine if any of the $1.1 billion fuel purchased for the Afghan National Army (ANA) between fiscal years 2007 and 2012 came from Iran, in violation of economic sanctions,” Sopko said in his report to Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The multinational Combined Security Transition Command buys fuel — under contracts administered by the US Central Command’s Joint Theater Support Contracting Command (CJTSCC) — for Afghan forces from eight Afghan importers.
Between 2007 and November 2012, the importers were not required to provide information on their sources, or certify that their purchases complied with sanctions, the report says.
Since late 2012, they have been required to sign deals that prohibit purchasing supplies from Iran and to certify the origin of the fuel. Earlier, CJTSCC provided investigators with certificates from four vendors which said Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan were the “main sources” of fuel. But it remains unclear if there is a system to verify the fuel’s origin, Sigar said. Agencies