WASHINGTON : The United States cut more than $160 million in direct funding to Afghanistan on Thursday, days before the country's elections, accusing the government of not doing enough to fight corruption.

While Washington has long complained of graft by its ally, the harsh measures come after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani clashed with President Donald Trump over the US leader's deal with the Taliban.

''We stand against those who exploit their positions of power and influence to deprive the Afghan people of the benefits of foreign assistance and more prosperous future,'' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

He said the United States was suspending work the Afghan body in charge of monitoring corruption as it is ''incapable of being a partner''.

We expect the Afghan government to demonstrate a clear commitment to fight against corruption, to serve Afghan people and to maintain their trust,'' he said.

''Afghan leaders who fail to meet and maintain this standard should be held accountable.''  [AFP]


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