Lowey to cut Afghan aid because of corruption concerns

“The alleged shipment of billions in donor funds out of Afghanistan and allegations of Afghan government insiders impeding corruption investigations are outrageous,” Lowey said in a statement Monday. “I do not intend to appropriate one more dime for assistance to Afghanistan until I have confidence that U.S. taxpayer money is not being abused to line the pockets of corrupt Afghan government officials, drug lords, and terrorists."

Lowey, chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees State Department funding, said officials in Afghanistan must show that corruption is being "aggressively investigated and prosecuted."

Lowey's decision to limit 2011 aid for Afghanistan comes as the Obama administration is seeking to shore up support for more Afghanistan war spending.

House leaders are planning to bring up a spending bill this week that contains more than $33 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly billions more in foreign aid and domestic programs.

An earlier version of the measure drafted by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) contained about $50 billion in spending in addition to the war funding requested by the White House, but centrist Democrats balked at the price tag because of concerns that it would increase the projected $1.5 trillion deficit for this year. Obey's bill called for about $1.4 billion in aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

House leaders are now considering a streamlined version that is likely to gain broader support.

Vicki Needham contributed to this story. 

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