Norway cuts Afghan aid over graft, women's rights

OSLO (AFP) - Norway will cut its aid to Afghanistan in 2014 due to a lack of progress on women's rights and efforts to combat corruption, a senior Norwegian official said on Friday.

Norway's aid will be slashed from an annual 750 million kroner (S$157 million) to 700 million kroner, a reduction of about seven percent.

"We warned Afghan authorities in July that the consequences (of the reform delays) could be a reduction (in aid), and now this is coming," Deputy Foreign Minister Torgeir Larsen told daily Aftenposten.

A member of Norway's outgoing government that lost September 9 general elections, Larsen said the exact details of the aid cut would be outlined in the 2014 budget his government is scheduled to present on October 14 - its last task before leaving office a few days later.

The decision is not expected to be contested by the incoming government.

A new report from the Norwegian embassy in Kabul quoted by Aftenposten said 87 percent of Afghan girls and women have been subjected to some form of violence and 70 percent of policewomen have been harassed or sexually assaulted by their superiors.

According to a recent ranking by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

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