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American envoy rebukes Afghan president over criticism of US aid agency

The US ambassador to Afghanistan rebuked the country’s president on Friday for labeling Washington’s aid agency “incompetent.” Foreign aid still makes up more than half of Afghanistan’s budget, but donors are questioning the efficacy of programs and most funding pledges only run to 2020, Reuters said.

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is seeking re-election on Saturday on an agenda of more Afghan self-reliance and with criticism of the US and Pakistan. Ghani had blasted the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for not getting aid money to the country’s people and for dodging regulations.

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“From each American dollar, the people of Afghanistan don’t get more than 10 cents of it,” Ghani noted. “USAID is one of the incompetent donors,” he was quoted as saying.

The US ambassador, John Bass, on Friday tweeted that Ghani “has overlooked the excellent work” of USAID. Last week, the US said it would withdraw about $100 million earmarked for an energy infrastructure project and would withhold a further $60 million in planned assistance, blaming corruption and a lack of transparency in Afghanistan.

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