The Acting Minister of Interior Massoud Andarabi on Sunday said that the diversion of the money designated for Afghanistan will not have any significant impacts on the situation in the country, days after US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan notified Congress that he intended to shift $1.5 billion that had been designated for the war in Afghanistan and other projects to help pay for work on President Trump’s border wall alongside US-Mexico border.
Andarabi said that the diversion of the funds depends on the US policies, but reiterated that Washington has already committed to continue its support to the Afghan security forces.
“It’s about America’s internal policy to spend the budget where. We do not see any change in our coordination and the programs which we have with the US forces,” Andarabi told TOLOnews on Sunday.
A spokesman for US forces, Colonel David Butler, meanwhile, said the move to divert the money is part of the plan to reduce the expenditures of foreign forces in Afghanistan, adding that the move will not have any impact on the training of the Afghan government and the US commitments for Afghanistan.
“US forces in Afghanistan will return 600 million dollars to the Department of Defense. We did this through very close work with the Afghan security forces and with very close work with the Afghan government to make things more efficient and make things better, and we were spending our money on the right things. That’s important to know that this cost savings does not reduce the effectiveness or the readiness of the Afghan security forces,” said Butler.
He said that the US was still committed to the Afghan forces as these forces are fighting terrorism in Afghanistan.
“We are completely committed to our partners in the Afghan security forces and they fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and they fight for peace,” added Butler.
The US is the largest financer of the Afghan forces.
“In the beginning, the US aid was covering all areas, but now their aid is only covering areas such as training, weapons, salaries, fuel, and repairing of the vehicles,” said former deputy minister of interior Mirza Mohammad Yarmand.
The move by Washington coincides recent diplomatic efforts between the US and the Taliban about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Long War Journal has said in a report that al-Qaeda network in a video message has reaffirmed its support to the Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
According to the journal, al Qaeda’s As Sahab media has released a new video advertising the group’s role in an ambush on an Afghan National Army (ANA) convoy in Paktika province.
“The video, which contains English subtitles, opens with a narrator claiming that America has been defeated in Afghanistan. “Fifteen years ago from today, if anyone had said that the superpower of the time, America, would be defeated in Afghanistan, it would have been hilarious for the world,” the speaker says. “But today it has become a reality.” He claims the Americans, NATO, and the ANA is an “army besieged in their bases.” Footage of a Western military commander crying a podium is played during some of this boasting,” wrote the Journal.
“The reality is that they have been united and will remain united. Al-Qaeda and all other terrorist movements were founded under the shadow of Taliban in Afghanistan and grew,” said Mujib Rahman Rahimi, spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.