US lifts hold on development funds for Afghanistan
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Monday that the United States was ending a freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars in development funds for Afghanistan amid financial reforms.
"The United States is pleased to announce we will be joining other partners in resuming financial disbursements to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund," Clinton told a conference on Afghanistan in Bonn.
US officials said the United States took its cue from the International Monetary Fund's decision last month to approve a new loan for Afghanistan after a year of difficult talks stalled by the massive Kabul Bank scandal.
The move occurred after Afghanistan made progress in financial sector regulations.
US officials said that after the IMF halted its development program in June, the United States suspended plans to disburse $650 million to $700 million dollars (520 million euros) in annual funds, paid out quarterly, to the ARTF.
The ARTF oversees a programme that promotes development projects in small communities throughout Afghanistan, including projects for digging wells, building roads and developing irrigation.
US officials said the United States, Britain, the European Union, Japan and Australia also froze payments to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund. But it was not clear when these countries would resume payments.
© 2011 AFP