KABUL, Afghanistan, April 29 (UPI) -- Funding cuts by Congress have delayed three civilian development initiatives meant to complement the U.S. military's efforts in Afghanistan, officials say.
The initiatives would have supported local governments, improved agricultural development and paid for job-training, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Military officials said the cuts come at a critical time in the war in Afghanistan and as a result, the civilian support programs won't begin until most of the summer fighting season is over.
"Our flank is exposed," a senior U.S. military officer in Afghanistan said.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is said to be developing interim measures and it said delays to the programs won't affect the delivery of farm aid or assistance to local governments.
"There will be no gaps in USAID's stabilization programming this summer," said Earl Gast, the agency's director in Afghanistan.
U.S. authorities had hoped the new programs would reinforce recent military gains against the Taliban and believe if Afghans have more and better jobs and can depend on local governments for basic services, many would renounce the insurgency.