WASHINGTON – About 1,000 Internal Revenue Service computers would be shipped to Afghanistan to help that nation's government rebuild its finance ministry under a proposal by the Bush administration.
The 2-year-old desktop and laptop computers, which are being taken out of service at the IRS, would enable the Kabul government to better keep track of its finances, including billions of dollars in foreign aid, and monitor the banking system for evidence of money-laundering and other terrorist activity.
"The Bush administration is committed to rebuilding Afghanistan and this would be a creative way of doing that," said Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols.
Much of the Afghan government's equipment is out of date, some was pillaged during years of war and some was destroyed by the now-deposed Taliban rulers. But there exists "solid, professional human talent" to operate a modern finance system if better computers were in place, he added.
The administration will ask Congress for $200,000 for the transportation and installation of the computers as part of an upcoming supplemental spending request. The request was first reported Monday by USA Today.
As with any IRS computer taken out of service, all U.S. taxpayer data would be removed before any machine was shipped to Afghanistan.