July 24, 2014

US vows $1 billion in annual aid to Afghanistan: Zakhilwal

By Sajad - Mon Jan 14, 1:52 pm

Afghan finance ministerThe United States of America has vowed to provide $800 million to $1 billion in annual aid to Afghan government, Afghan finance minister Hazrat Omer Zakhilwal on Sunday said.

He was speaking during the cabinet meeting led by Afghan Hamid Karzai and said the United States has vowed to provide the funds to the Afghan governemnt which was previously spent in Afghanistan through private contracts.

Mr. Zakhilwal said that Washington has agreed to implement the US funded projects through the Afghan government and contractors.

This comes as the Afghan government accused the west of fuelling corruption and waste in the way it spends money in Afghanistan. The finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal has been pushing for more money to be put straight through the government budget to be spent by ministries like education and health, rather than channelled through foreign aid organisations.

“We believe that the way the US money is spent here, there’s a lot of waste, particularly money spent through contractors and outside sources,” Zakhilwal told the Wall Street Journal before the US visit. Much of the aid cash flowed back to the US through “big consultant salaries and overheads”, he added.

The U.S. has spent around $22.34 billion on governance and development in Afghanistan since it invaded the country following the Sept. 11 attacks, much of that on projects to build roads, schools, power plants and irrigation systems. In the past two years alone, $800 million was earmarked for infrastructure projects.

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