U.S. Slashes $1 Billion in Assist to Afghanistan After Pompeo Journey to Kabul

U.S. Slashes $1 Billion in Aid to Afghanistan After Pompeo Trip to Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Trump administration is slashing $1 billion in help to Afghanistan and threatening additional reductions in all types of cooperation after the nation’s rival leaders did not agree on forming a brand new authorities.

The announcement got here from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after he made an unannounced go to to Kabul to satisfy with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Every has declared himself president of the nation after disputed elections final yr.

In an unusually harsh assertion, Pompeo slammed the 2 males for being unable to work collectively and threatening a possible peace deal that would finish America’s longest-running battle.

“The USA deeply regrets that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Govt Abdullah Abdullah have knowledgeable Secretary Pompeo that they’ve been unable to agree on an inclusive authorities that may meet the challenges of governance, peace, and safety, and supply for the well being and welfare of Afghan residents,” he mentioned.

Pompeo mentioned the U.S. was “dissatisfied” in each males and their conduct, which he mentioned had “harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonors these Afghan, American, and coalition companions who’ve sacrificed their lives and treasure within the wrestle to construct a brand new future for this nation.”

Pompeo mentioned their incapacity to work collectively posed a “direct menace” to U.S. nationwide pursuits, and the administration would start a direct overview of all its help packages for Afghanistan, beginning with a discount of $1 billion in assist this yr. He mentioned it might be diminished by one other billion {dollars} in 2021.

“We now have made clear to the management that we are going to not again safety operations which are politically motivated, nor help political leaders who order such operations or those that advocate for or help parallel authorities,” Pompeo mentioned.

Pompeo, who after leaving Kabul met with a senior Taliban official in Qatar, additionally mentioned Ghani and Abdullah have been appearing inconsistently with agreements they made to help a U.S.-Taliban peace settlement signed final month. That deal known as for intra-Afghan peace talks to start inside 10 days — by March 10 — however they haven’t begun and Ghani and Abdullah haven’t but even agreed on who needs to be a part of the non-Taliban delegation. Nor have they agreed to prisoner swaps with the Taliban as envisaged by the deal.

Pompeo mentioned the USA would proceed to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan below the phrases of its settlement with Taliban, which requires a discount within the subsequent a number of months from about 13,000 to eight,600.

Pompeo added that the U.S. could be keen to look once more on the assist cuts if the 2 leaders can type an inclusive authorities and mentioned Washington remained dedicated to a partnership with the individuals of Afghanistan. As an illustration of that, he mentioned the U.S. would offered $15 million in help to assist Afghanistan combat the unfold of the coronavirus.