Give or take allies: US pulls $160mn pledged to Afghanistan, citing widespread corruption
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that $100 million earmarked for an energy project would be returned to the US treasury, while an additional $60 million in planned assistance would be nixed.Pompeo claimed that the funds were being withheld as punishment for Kabul’s “inability to transparently manage US government resources.”
.@SecPompeo: “We expect the assistance funds we provide to Afghanistan to serve the interests of all Afghan citizens. Due to identified Afghan Government corruption & financial mismanagement, the U.S. Government is returning approximately $100 million to the U.S. Treasury...”— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) September 19, 2019
He said that money allocated to “serve the interests of all Afghan citizens” had instead been wasted due to “government corruption and financial mismanagement.” Pompeo promised that the proposed energy project would still be completed using an alternative funding method.
Whether or not corruption is the real reason for the US punishing Kabul, the news couldn’t come at a worse time for the government there, which faces serious political and security hurdles. Afghanistan is holding a presidential election at the end of the month, but campaigning has been marred by a sharp uptick in violence.Also on rt.com Blast near US Embassy in Kabul after attack on President Ghani campaign rally
The situation in the country took a turn for the worse in September, after Washington called off peace talks with the Taliban following a car bomb attack that killed one US soldier.
The Taliban responded by saying they are ready to keep fighting US forces on the Afghan soil even if takes “a hundred years.” There is “no solution to the conflict except negotiations and except peace on the table,” and Washington should rethink its move, top Taliban negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai told RT.Also on rt.com ‘We can fight Americans for 100 years,’ Taliban tells RT after scrapped peace talks
The war has dragged on for nearly two decades, costing American taxpayers an estimated $877 billion dollars as of March 2019. This includes both fighting the Taliban and trying to rebuild the country after the US invasion in October 2001.
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