With a crisis looming over the stability of the Afghan government threatening to derail a peace deal signed by the US and Taliban last month, the Donald Trump administration decided to slash assistance to Afghanistan. The administration decided to cut $1 bn in aid due to Afghanistan's inability to form a government, reported the Washington Post.
According to Associated Press, the Trump administration threatened further reductions in all forms of cooperation after the country's rival leaders failed to agree on forming a new government. The announcement came from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday after he made an unannounced visit to Kabul to meet with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to resolve a clash between the two leaders. Each has declared himself president of the country after disputed elections last year. In an unusually harsh statement, Pompeo slammed the two men for being unable to work together and threatening a potential peace deal that could end America's longest-running conflict.
"The United States deeply regrets that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have informed Secretary Pompeo that they 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," he said.
Pompeo said the US was "disappointed" in both men and their conduct, which he said had "harmed US-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonours those Afghan, American, and coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country."
Pompeo's travel to Afghanistan came at a time when most of the countries decided to go into lockdown as the deadly coronavirus upended economic growth which indicated the US officials' growing concern of an continuing political stalemate - which may undermine the peace process and the opportunity to end the 18-year-long war.
On February 29, the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha after months of negotiations, aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan and which will pave the way for Washington to withdraw all its troops from the country within 14 months.