Q. What is the possible impact of the US aid cut of USD 1 billion on Afghanistan?
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Replied by Dr Yatharth Kachiar

The US State Department decided to cut the USD 1 billion in aid to Afghanistan in 2020 and warned the possibility of reducing another USD 1 billion in 2021.The US provides about $4 billion in security aid every year and roughly $500 million in civilian assistance. About 75 percent of Afghanistan’s public expenditures every year is dependent on international donations.The decision to cut the aid was taken after the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attempts to convince the conflicting Afghan leaders, President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to support a unified government failed. It is crucial for the rival Afghan leaders to forge an inclusive team vis-à-vis the Taliban in the forthcoming intra-Afghan negotiations to save the peace negotiations from falling apart.

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on foreign aid, and at this point when there is a more significant threat of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the aid cut by the US is a cause of serious concern for Afghan leaders. Lack of funding might probably lead to the unravelling of an already challenged government and the disintegration of a weary and overstretched security force. Afghanistan uses foreign aid not just to pay necessary expenses but also for its war against the resurgent Taliban. President Ghani has stated that the Afghan army would not last more than six months if the United States cuts funding. It is crucial to note that at the end of the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, the Moscow-backed government of Afghanistan collapsed because of lack of financial support from the international community. At present, Afghanistan is dealing with multiple challenges including the jolt of abruptly reduced funding, a fragmented government, the raging war with the Taliban and the spread of the coronavirus — that have brought it to a brink.

Date : 27/03/2020
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