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Lawmaker threatens to cut aid to Afghanistan over graft allegations

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rep. Nita Lowey says she'll cut aid over graft allegations
  • Lowey leads a House appropriations subcommittee
  • Afghan president spokesman disagrees with decision

(CNN) -- The leader of a powerful House subcommittee has said she will withhold billions of dollars in aid to Afghanistan because of allegations of corruption.

Rep. Nita Lowey of New York said she will quit approving aid in next year's spending bill. The bill, called Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Act, is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday.

"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, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday.

The subcommittee will not consider any more assistance to the Afghan government except for humanitarian aid, Lowey said.

"Too many Americans are suffering in this economy for us to put their hard-earned tax dollars into the hands of criminals overseas," said Lowey, who is chairwoman of State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.

A spokesman for Afghan president Hamid Karzai disagreed with Lowey's decision.

"We are accountable for the money that international community is donating for Afghanistan and there is transparency in usage of these donations," said Seymak Herawi, deputy spokesman.

Herawi said Afghanistan does have problems with corruption, but it has not seeped into high levels of government.

CNN'S Samson Desta contributed to this report.