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U.S. pledges $600 million in Afghan aid, but half depends on peace talks

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday pledged $600 million for humanitarian aid to civilians in Afghanistan next year, half of it conditional on peace talks underway with the Taliban in Doha.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that choices made in peace talks will affect the size and scope of future international support to Afghanistan, and that Washington would review progress in a year’s time.

President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this month to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan “does not signal change in policy”, U.S deputy secretary of state David Hale told a Geneva pledging conference, calling for a unified, stable country.

“We stand ready to support Afghanistan and to that end we’ve made available $600 million for civilian assistance needs in 2021. We’re pleased to pledge today $300 million of that money with the remaining $300 million available as we review progress in the peace process,” Hale said.

(This story corrects title of Hale in 3rd para to under secretary not deputy secretary)

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay