US secretary of State Michael Pompeo

US secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the US will be withholding funds from Afghanistan

NPA responds to US withholding fund decision

After US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the US will be withholding funds from Afghanistan because of a lack of transparency and accountability, the National Procurement Authority(NPA) in a statement said that “all decisions on projects are made in the presence of national and international observers, as well as in the presence of the president and the Chief Executive.”

“We consider ourselves responsible to respond to all these concerns,” the NPA spokesman Ahmad Ramin Ayaz said.

This statement came just one day after US Secretary of State announced to withhold the funding for an energy infrastructure project in southern Afghanistan will continue, but not with the original $100 million earmarked, and not through the usual channels of disbursement. Another $60 million in planned assistance is now off the table.

“Afghan government institutions and leaders must be transparent and accountable to the Afghan people. We stand against those who exploit their positions of power and influence to deprive the Afghan people of the benefits of foreign assistance,” Pompeo said in the statement.

Presidential candidate Gulbuddin Hekmatyar supported the US decision on withholding the funds.

Hekmatyar said the international community’s aid has gone into the pocket of “thieves,” referring to some government officials.

“They might have cut off the aid to put pressure on the government to abandon its political disputes [with the US],” Hekmatyar said.

The National Procurement Authority is led by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Others with authority include Elham Hotak, head of the National Procurement Commission, and also Mohammad Humayun Qayumi, the Acting Finance Minister.

“I wish the US would have started this earlier–between 2001 to 2014. During that time billions of dollars were poured into Afghanistan from the international community, especially the UnitedStates, and they went into the pockets of Afghanistan’s political elites,” political affairs analyst Daud Nadi said.

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