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The State Departments cut a whopping $100 million in aid to Afghanistan following failed peace talks with the Taliban Thursday, just a week before the scheduled national elections in Afghanistan.
The funds were set to go to building an energy infrastructure in Afghanistan, but apparent governmental corruption and lack of transparency with the U.S. lead to the decision to withdraw the money back to the U.S.
Check out the breaking news that hit Twitter:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited "identified Afghan Government corruption & financial mismanagement" as the reason why America is withdrawing the funds.
The New York Times has more details into the huge Afghanistan foreign aid cut:
The State Department cut $100 million in aid for Afghanistan on Thursday as the Trump administration’s chief peace negotiator briefed House lawmakers on the failed efforts to strike a deal with the Taliban and wind down the 18-year war.
The American funding was slated for a hydroelectric project to provide power to the cities of Kandahar and Ghazni in southern and southeastern Afghanistan. The dam project will continue but without the American funds, “given the Afghan government’s inability to transparently manage U.S. government resources,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a written statement.
In comments to reporters, Mr. Pompeo seemed to link the cut in aid to Afghanistan’s national elections, which are scheduled for Sept. 28.
“We want free and fair elections,” Mr. Pompeo said in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in a response to a question about the canceled funding. “We’re going to do everything we can to support them, and we need every actor in the region, every leader, every citizen in Afghanistan to work towards that end.”
It was not immediately clear what Mr. Pompeo meant in underscoring the election’s importance when asked about the canceled American financial assistance. His written statement cited “identified Afghan government corruption and financial mismanagement” that led to the decision to cut the funding.
“We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people and to maintain their trust,” Mr. Pompeo said in the statement. “Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable.”
The Afghan Embassy in Washington did not have an immediate response.
The elections were a fault line in peace negotiations that President Trump declared “dead” this month after a bombing in Kabul, the Afghan capital, killed an American soldier and 11 Afghans. At the time, nine rounds of negotiations had left dealmakers on the cusp of an agreement for a limited cease-fire in Afghanistan in exchange for the start of an American military withdrawal.
The Washington Post via MSN also stated:
The State Department said Thursday that it was withdrawing $100 million in aid to Afghanistan and withholding another $60 million because of government corruption, a week before an election in which President Ashraf Ghani hopes to win a second term in office.
Asked about the statement announcing the cuts and what message it was sending to Ghani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said only that “we want free and fair elections.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to support them, and we need every actor in the region — every leader, every citizen in Afghanistan — to work toward that end,” he said.
U.S. negotiators had hoped Ghani would postpone the vote while they were negotiating with the Taliban. But those talks were suspended this month by President Trump, after an American soldier was killed in a Taliban attack.