'US cuts $1 bn in Afghan aid over leaders' impasse'

US cuts $1 billion in Afghan aid over leaders' impasse: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP Photo)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday the United States was cutting $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan, voicing disappointment that rival leaders pressed by him on a visit failed to form an inclusive government.

"The United States is disappointed in them and what their conduct means for Afghanistan and our shared interests," Pompeo said in a statement after his talks in Kabul with President Ashraf Ghani and Ghani's rival Abdullah Abdullah.

"Their failure has harmed US-Afghan relations and, sadly, dishonors those Afghan, Americans and Coalition partners who have sacrificed their lives and treasure in the struggle to build a new future for this country."

Pompeo said the US was immediately reducing $1 billion in aid and would pull another $1 billion in 2021.

The United States will consider further cuts, he added, including withdrawing support at any future donor conference.

Pompeo issued the statement after he stopped on his way back in Qatar for talks with Taliban insurgents in the highest-level talks between the insurgents and the United States.

The top US diplomat said Washington was moving ahead with its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as agreed in a February 29 deal with the Taliban.

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