In its statement, the Treasury described several alleged schemes under which the Rahmanis enriched themselves.
The US Department of Treasury in a press release said on Monday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two former Afghan government officials — Mir Rahman Rahmani and his son, Ajmal Rahmani, collectively known as “the Rahmanis — for their extensive roles in transnational corruption, as well as 44 associated entities.”
According to the press release, “These individuals and entities are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world. Through their Afghan companies, the Rahmanis perpetrated a complex procurement corruption scheme resulting in the misappropriation of millions of dollars from U.S. Government-funded contracts that supported Afghan security forces.”
Mir Rahman Rahmani and his son Ajmal Rahmani, nicknamed “Armored Ajmal” for his business selling bulletproof vehicles to the Kabul elite, served in parliament before the Afghan government collapsed in 2021 when U.S. forces withdrew and the Islamic Emirate took over.
“Through their Afghan companies, the Rahmanis perpetrated a complex procurement corruption scheme resulting in the misappropriation of millions of dollars from U.S. Government-funded contracts that supported Afghan security forces,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The sanctions, imposed one day after Human Rights Day, block U.S. assets of those targeted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those who engage in certain transactions with them also risk being hit with sanctions.
The sanctions come under an executive order that builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.
In its statement, the Treasury described several alleged schemes under which the Rahmanis enriched themselves.It accused them of rigging bids for contracts to provide fuel to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), artificially inflating prices.
“In 2014, several families involved in the fuel business, including the Rahmanis, colluded to drive up the price of fuel on U.S.-funded contracts by more than $200 million and eliminate competitor bids,” the Treasury Department said.
In another scheme, it accused them of fraudulently importing and selling tax free fuel and also of under-delivering fuel they were under contract to supply.
“After bribing their way into the Afghan Parliament, the Rahmanis used their official positions to perpetuate their corrupt system,” the Treasury added.
The Treasury also sanctioned 44 companies, 23 of them German, eight Cypriot, six Emirati, two Afghan, two Austrian, two Dutch and one Bulgarian.
Separately, the White House issued a proclamation expanding the U.S. government’s authority to limit the entry of foreigners involved in significant corruption as well as their family members.
The legal and economic analysts give various opinions in this regard.
“The order which the Americans issued about the family of Rahmani is not capable of addressing the issue through legal paths because the law in Afghanistan stipulates that a decree is implementable when the decree is issued on its territory,” said Zia Yousufi, a legal analyst.
“The financial mafia which was created by such corrupt [people] has influenced the political and military sectors such as parliament, executive institutions and even judicial systems, providing the grounds for such major corruption,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.
The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that the US itself supported such officials within the past 20-years in Afghanistan.
“This sanction is on two people who belong to the former administration of Kabul. It is linked to the US. In the past 20 years, the US supported those people who were corrupt and were seizing the money of the people of Afghanistan and even the US money through such actions,” he said.
Mir Rahmani and Ajmal Rahmani were in the parliament of Afghanistan but both left the country after the collapse of the republic government.