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US slashes aid to Afghanistan after Pompeo trip to Kabul

AP  |  Kabul 

The Donald Trump administration is slashing assistance to Afghanistan and threatening 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. 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 was in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a US peace deal signed last month with the Taliban. He'd travelled thousands of miles despite a near-global travel shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 04:42 IST
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