The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement that “Afghan government institutions and leaders must be transparent and accountable to the Afghan people.”
Pompeo added that the U.S. stands against those who “exploit” their positions of power and influence to deprive the Afghan people of the benefits of foreign assistance and a more prosperous future.
The U.S. had allocated $100 million for an energy infrastructure project in the country, “which consists of five substations and other transmission infrastructure between Ghazni and Kandahar and Kajaki and Kandahar.”
“Due to identified Afghan Government corruption and financial mismanagement, the U.S. Government is returning approximately $100 million to the U.S. Treasury that was intended for a large energy infrastructure project,” the statement said.
However, Pompeo said that his country would still complete the project but wouldn’t spend the money through the Afghan government.
“We will be using a U.S. Government “off-budget” mechanism given the Afghan government’s inability to transparently manage U.S. Government resources,” Pompeo noted.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will be “withholding” another $60 million in planned assistance for Afghanistan due to the government’s failure to meet benchmarks for transparency and accountability in public financial management.
“We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight corruption, to serve the Afghan people, and to maintain their trust,” Pompeo said adding, “Afghan leaders who fail to meet this standard should be held accountable.”
“We also have concluded that the Afghan government’s Monitoring and Evaluation Committee is incapable of being a partner in the international effort to build a better future for the Afghan people,” U.S. Secretary of State underscored.
“We will cease funding to this entity at the end of this calendar year,” he said. “American taxpayers and the Afghan people can count on the United States to act when we see assistance funds misused.”