WASHINGTON - Afghanistan’s government does not appear able to manage the large amounts of direct aid that the United States and other countries have pledged, the US watchdog monitoring funds spent on Afghan reconstruction said. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, raised a red flag over US plans to give Kabul billions of dollars more in direct aid instead of providing assistance through contractors and non-governmental organizations operating on behalf of the American government. “The Afghan government does not appear to have the capacity to manage the amount of funding envisioned in the international community’s pledges of direct assistance,” Sopko told a House committee in testimony prepared for a Wednesday House of Representatives hearing. He said oversight provisions, such as doling out funds incrementally instead of in large lump sums, should be built into direct aid programs “to protect the American taxpayer.” Sopko said his office, known as SIGAR, would be monitoring the uses of US aid, including whether programs made clear contributions to American national interests, and whether Afghans needed or even wanted them. So far, the United States has invested almost $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction efforts, he said. Afghanistan is regularly ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt countries. More than $16 billion pledged in future aid at an international donor’s conference in Tokyo last year was tied to a serious effort to crack down on graft. But in an attempt to provide Afghanistan with more control over aid, international donors also promised to increase the amount of direct aid to Kabul. Sopko said the US government had committed to channel at least 50 percent of its development assistance through the Afghan national budget, but he had seen little progress in cleaning up fraud.