IRS Computers May Land in Afghanistan

Last month, AccountingWEB reported on some inventory control issues at the IRS ("IRS 'Misplaces Over 2300 Computers" - January 9, 2002) that led to congressional calls to halt the IRS budget until they are found.

Now, the Bush administration is proposing to take 1,000 of the IRS' two year old laptops and desktop computers and ship them to Afghanistan to help the new government in its modernization efforts.

The situation in Afghanistan is desperate, because the outgoing Taliban regime apparently looted government offices before they left, leaving behind only obsolete shells and 1980s style Wang computers.

If approved, these computers will be a good head start in the enormous task of building a government infrastructure from scratch. Treasury officials say the computers would be used to run the Finance Ministry, keep track of the budget, monitor foreign aid, and monitor banking transactions.

IRS officials promise that all U.S. taxpayer data will be scrubbed from the computers' memories if they are shipped to Kabul.

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