How much U.S. aid will Afghanistan actually get in fiscal year 2014?
Washington is expected to announce on Monday about $300 million in fresh aid programs to help Afghanistan mitigate the effects of the drawdown of foreign troops and likely receiving less official development assistance this year.
$125 million to improve the country’s agricultural sector, especially agribusiness and facilitating access to markets.
$77-million to open up the nation to international trade and investment, with the ultimate goal of joining the World Trade Organization by late 2014 or early next year.
$100 million to help Afghan college students acquire professional skills in partnership with U.S. universities.
This boost in U.S. aid to Afghanistan comes less than a month after Congress decided to slash ODA to the country by half for fiscal year 2014, while both governments continue to haggle over a controversial security agreement to extend U.S. military presence in the Central Asian nations that Afghan President Hamid Karzai to this day refuses to budge on. The Obama administration’s omnibus spending bill includes $2.19 billion for Afghanistan, but lawmakers — many frustrated with waste and corruption reports — have only approved spending $1.12 billion.
It will also be interesting to see how future U.S. aid policy to the country will influence other donors, especially those that committed big amounts in pledges but could hold back partially if the United States will spend less than expected.
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