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U.S. to withdraw and withhold funds from Afghanistan, blames corruption

U.S. to withdraw and withhold funds from Afghanistan, blames corruption
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo steps off his plane upon his arrival at al-Bateen Air Base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 19, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS -
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the United States would return about $100 million (£80.21 million) to the treasury for an energy infrastructure project in Afghanistan and would withhold a further $60 million in planned assistance to the country due to a lack of transparency.

Pompeo said in a statement the United States would complete the infrastructure project, but would do so using an “‘off-budget’ mechanism,” faulting Afghanistan for an “inability to transparently manage U.S. Government resources.”

“Due to identified Afghan Government corruption and financial mismanagement, the U.S. Government is returning approximately $100 million to the U.S. Treasury that was intended for a large energy infrastructure project,” he added.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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