“US Aid Cut Contrary to BSA with Afghanistan”

The internal affairs committee of the Lower House of Parliament says the US aid cut is contrary to the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the Afghan government.

The Committee in a press release reacted to the recent decision of US Department of State, saying US military, economic, and political cooperation and support for Afghanistan is based on a long-term Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries, and the commitment to this treaty as a historic document for the elimination of terrorism, and the strengthening of security and stability in Afghanistan is mandatory.

“The United States must provide annual training, equipping, and consulting support to Afghan security forces so that the country can defend itself independently against domestic and foreign threats, and not let insurgents again pose a threat to the region and the world,” the press release said.

The Committee sought to work with international partners, especially the United States, to resolve the political crisis that threatened Afghanistan’s affairs.

It warned that if the current crisis is not resolved, security and social problems may become wider in the country.

This comes as the US has said it will cut its aid to Afghanistan by $1bn (£840m), blaming the failure of Ashraf Ghani and his main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, to agree on an inclusive government for talks with the Taliban.

A further $1bn could be cut from the annual aid package of $4.5bn in 2021, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, warned after a surprise visit to Kabul on Monday failed to persuade the two men to strike a deal. Pompeo suggested the aid could be restored if they changed their minds.

The aid cut would represent about 5% of Afghanistan’s GDP, but Ghani claimed in a televised address on Tuesday that “the US reduction in aid will have no direct impact on our key sectors”. He expressed hope that the Afghan government could try to satisfy the US “through talks and negotiations”.

The Afghan president also blamed Abdullah, who he said had been offered an important role in the peace process, but had instead demanded changes to the constitution. Abdullah also released a statement saying that while Pompeo’s trip had created an opportunity to resolve the crisis, “unfortunately it was not utilised properly”.

“The United States is disappointed in them and what their conduct means for Afghanistan and our shared interests,” Pompeo said in a sharply written statement. “Their failure has harmed US-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonours those Afghan, Americans, and coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country.

The secretary of state warned that other US projects, as well as US pledges at donor conferences, would come under review. He blamed the Afghan leaders for failing to abide by a joint declaration with the US made on 29 February to send a unified team to talks with the Taliban, and to free Taliban prisoners.

25 / March 2020
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