US Cuts $160 Million in Afghan Aid, Citing Corruption

Funding was meant for hydroelectric dam

Since the 2001 US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, that country’s level of corruption, already high, has sky-rocketed to almost legendary levels, easily topping most international lists for most corrupt nations.

The US State Department has announced that they are withholding $160 million in aid to Afghanistan now because of the corruption. This marks a turning point, as historically the US has simply kept throwing money at Afghanistan as a matter of course.

Of the money $100 million was meant for a hydrelectric dam project, which the US clearly doesn’t have a lot of confidence in. The other $60 million was election money which is being withheld for the Afghans failing to meet transparency requirements for the vote.

Afghan officials are expressing surprise at this, but every past Afghan election has had huge transparency and credibility problems, and the one coming up this month looks to have a lot of the same problems.

Historically, government control over the election commissions has made it very difficult for the opposition to compete in Afghanistan, and any investigation into allegations of fraud tends to end with members of the commission being ousted and replaced with those even more loyal to the existing government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.