The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 23 announced that Washington was cutting $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan because apparently the rival leaders in the country were unable to form an inclusive government. Secretary Pompeo in a statement released on Monday said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have been unable to agree on an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace, and security, and provide for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens.
"The United States is disappointed in them and what their conduct means for Afghanistan and our shared interests. Their failure has harmed U.S.-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonors those Afghan, Americans, and Coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country," Pompeo said in the press release.
"Because this leadership failure poses a direct threat to U.S. national interests, effective immediately, the U.S. government will initiate a review of the scope of our cooperation with Afghanistan. Among other steps, we are today announcing a responsible adjustment to our spending in Afghanistan and immediately reducing assistance by $1 billion this year. We are prepared to reduce by another $1 billion in 2021," Pompeo added.
The United States and the Taliban signed the peace deal after 18 months of negotiations and 20 years of war. The deal which was signed in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan would see the gradual withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan under a timeline of 14 months. The deal also requires the Taliban to guarantee that their territory will not be used as a launchpad that would threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
The deal was signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on February 29, 2020 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a witness. As per reports, more than 1,00,000 Afghan citizens have lost their lives or wounded since 2009, when the United Nations Assistance Mission began documenting casualties. There have been nearly 4,000 coalition deaths in the war in Afghanistan, of which 2,500 soldiers belonged to the US Army.