Afghan President Hamid Karzai is urging the United States to invest more of its financial assistance for his country in projects and initiatives that are in line with the Afghan government’s priorities.
In a recent interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the Afghan president said U.S. aid projects in Afghanistan will have a longer-term and more sustainable impact if they are in line with the government’s priorities.
“The United States has been growth for us. The United States has been schools and clinics for us. But the United States has not invested in major infrastructure projects for us, like dams and electricity that we can produce for all,” Karzai told Zakaria.
“If the investment of the United States is done in consultation with Afghanistan and based on Afghan priorities, it will produce a lot better result,” Karzai added, citing a U.S. initiative to provide generators in Kandahar that he said the Afghan government was opposed to because it “felt that this money could be spent better by building a dam in that region.”
Karzai also noted in the interview that his government is “working harder than we did before” to address corruption within its ranks.
“I can claim that the Afghan government, under the circumstances, is doing its best to handle this,” Karzai said. “I can also claim that Afghanistan would be a lot better place if our international partners cooperated with us on corruption and cleaned things at their own end, as well.”
Meantime, Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said the country is pursuing talks with various international donors following its failed negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, which the minister said could put millions of dollars worth of aid for Afghanistan in limbo.
IMF and the Afghan government have failed to reach a deal on the troubled Kabul Bank, prompting a World Bank-managed multidonor trust fund to withhold $70 million for Afghanistan.
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