US defrosted $ 60 million aid to Afghanistan. This was stated by First Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells. According to her, Washington made such a decision, since the Afghan authorities have achieved success in the fight against corruption.
“Speaking about problem areas, Secretary of State Pompeo expressed concern, including over the ongoing widespread corruption in Afghanistan. I’m glad that in one of the areas outlined by the Secretary of State, the Government of Afghanistan has really made progress, which allowed us to provide the country with assistance worth $ 60 million, ”the representative of the State Department said.
At the same time, Wells emphasized that the fight against corruption is a “key element” of all ongoing US programs in Afghanistan.
“We are trying to make sure that the money of American taxpayers is spent appropriately and with the achievement of the desired result. We are constantly looking for ways to increase the efficiency of spending sponsorship funds, ”she said.
She also stated that Washington is calling for Kabul independence.
“We, of course, urge the government and other parties that provide and receive assistance to make every effort to make maximum use of the declining economic assistance to turn Afghanistan into a self-sufficient state and develop the private sector there,” Wells said.
- US State Department Building
The State Department website notes that the $ 60 million amount is allocated by the Afghanistan Recovery Trust Fund "as incentive funding."
Earlier, in September last year, Washington withdrew about $ 100 million intended to finance a large energy infrastructure project in Afghanistan, and also suspended the allocation of $ 60 million in aid. The agency substantiated its decision with the opacity of procurement and corruption identified in the Afghan government. This, in particular, was said in a statement by the State Department.
“From one pocket to another”
However, experts doubt that the actions of the United States are actually associated with a change in the level of corruption in Afghanistan. According to political analyst Alexander Asafov, by defrosting funds, Washington is only trying to achieve the loyalty of the leadership of the republic.
The analyst believes that the White House needs this, as recently the leader of Afghanistan has been making statements increasingly contrary to Washington’s policy.
So, on January 23, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that the US talks with the Taliban did not lead to tangible progress. According to the Afghan leader, the republic’s public expects the Taliban * to end the violence.
In addition, in a recent CNBC interview, the Afghan leader said that the responsibility for security in the republic rests with Kabul, and not with Washington. He also noted that the country should be able to secure its future.
In August, Ghani opposed the intervention of other countries in the affairs of Afghanistan.
“Our future cannot be determined by someone from outside in the capitals of our friends, enemies or neighbors. The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here at home. We do not want outside interference in our affairs, ”Gani quotes the Associated Press.
These words of the Afghan leader were voiced against the backdrop of reports of another round of dialogue between the US and the Taliban.
Recall, as a result of negotiations with the Taliban that took place on September 1 in Doha, the US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters that the parties discussed the preliminary conditions for a possible agreement, one of the points of which is the withdrawal of 5,000 US troops from Afghanistan within 135 days .
The United States military operation in Afghanistan has been going on for almost 20 years. The reason for its beginning was the attacks of September 11, 2001. This campaign was the most massive in 2010-2013: then the number of the western military contingent reached almost 150 thousand people. Now in Afghanistan, according to Al Arabiya, about 13 thousand. US military.
- US military in Afghanistan
- © Omar Sobhani
According to Alexander Asafov, the inclusion of a mechanism for defrosting aid to Afghanistan is "an attempt to buy the loyalty of the authorities of this country."
“This has nothing to do with corruption indicators in the republic,” the expert emphasized in an interview with RT.
He argues that the situation in the Middle East as a whole, like in Afghanistan, "is dynamically changing not in favor of the United States."
"In addition, what is happening in Iraq, including the desire of its leadership to get rid of American troops, is even more pushing Washington to buy the loyalty of the ruling elites of Middle Eastern countries," Asafov explained in a conversation with RT.
A similar point of view is shared by the expert of the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies Vladimir Bruter. According to him, such an aspect as the fight against corruption, "by American standards, is only an excuse."
“However, no one really knows who and how is fighting corruption. It is almost impossible to track, especially if we are talking about a period of four months, ”says the analyst.
According to him, in fact, Washington is allocating funds to support the authorities, who are "in a rather difficult situation." He believes that the United States sees "the legitimate authority of Afghanistan as some element of bargaining with the Taliban."
“This is a bribe from one pocket to another. Washington now needs to somehow support the Afghan authorities, since the United States is interested in the leadership of the republic being afloat for some time. The US will always pursue its own goals, all this is calculated for the future, ”the analyst said.
Alexander Asafov, in turn, summarized that "any US humanitarian aid is not a goodwill gesture."
“This is always the fulfillment of political and military tasks, as well as the tasks of the American intelligence services. Any assistance from Washington to other countries is a strengthening of regional positions or pressure on other geopolitical players. This is a completely clear strategy, the purpose of which is to protect American national interests outside the US, ”Asafov concluded.
* “Taliban” - the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 14, 2003.