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U.S. funds may have bought Iranian oil

Feb. 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Afghan National Army may have used U.S. funds to buy fuel from Iran in violation of Western economic sanctions, a military audit has found.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says while there is no direct evidence Iranian oil was purchased with U.S. dollars, the possibility exists, McClatchy Newspapers reported Tuesday.

Using figures compiled by the State Department, the audit found a third to half of all fuel purchased by Afghanistan comes from Iran.

At least $1.1 billion was given to the Afghan army from 2007 to 2012 to buy fuel, the report says, but tracking of the money has been so inadequate, it is impossible to determine from where the fuel came.

The finding "raises concerns that U.S. funds could have been used to pay for imports of fuel potentially in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran," the audit stated.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office noted in a report released Monday on Afghanistan funding "persistent corruption" in Afghanistan undermines "effective accountability of U.S. funds provided directly to the Afghan government."

Concerns about the fuel program will be the focus of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Afghanistan and Iran have a long common border and much of the goods delivered to Afghanistan come through an Iranian port.

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