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IWA concerned at shrinking public role in budget making

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Transparency in Afghanistan’s budget making has increased from 42 to 49 in terms of scores over the past two years, but people’s participation in the exercise has decreased from 27 to 15 marks.

Syed Akram Afzali, Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) head, told a press conference here on Monday the IWA and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) had researched the budgets for 1394 and 1395 fiscal years.

He said a similar survey had been conducted in 1394 to assess the budgets for 1393 and 1392.The latest survey shows the budgetsfor 1394 and 1395 had seven more privileges than the 1393 and 1392 accounts.

Afzali urged the government to step up efforts at increasing transparency in the budget.About the fallinglevel of public participation in budget making, he said: “The decrease is a matter of concern. The budget will benefit only the elite if the public doesn’t participate in it,”

He believed public participation should increase, particularly at the provincial level. Afzali said the survey also assessed the performance of budget supervisors. From the budget observers, the Audit High Authority obtained 67 points, Wolesi Jirga 47 and civil society institutes 43.

Khalid Painda, deputy finance minister, said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) would benefit from the survey in preparing next year’s budget.

He asked budget supervisors to cooperate with MoF in bringing the budget to the required standard.

Amir Janyar, head of the Wolesi Jirga’s finance commission, said more efforts were needed for a standard budget and relevant organs should cooperate with the MoF in this regard.

The amount of revenue should increase so that most of the budget could be funded from national income, he suggested, saying the best budgetary plan was one that contained job-generating projects and increased revenue.



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Jawzjan police arrest 2 drug smugglers, seize 70kg opium

Monitoring Desk

SHEBRGHAN: Police have detained two people in connection of trafficking narcotics in northwestern of Jawzjan province, official said Monday.

Col. Abdul Hafiz Khashi deputy Jawzjan police chief told Pajhwok Afghan News that two persons named Baryali and Mohammad Afzal who were trafficking 70 kilograms of opium from the Chaharbolak district of Balkh province to Faryab province were arrested on the outskirts of Shebrghan, the capital of Jawzjan. He added the detainees planned to transfer this opium to Dawlat Abad district of Faryab province.

The traffickers transferring the opium to an area under the Taliban control and then the militants wanted to transfer them to another area, he said.

“All the people know that most of the benefit of drug business goes to militants, because they are financing their war with that money,” he said.

Deputy police chief said that fifty people have been captured by counternarcotics police since the beginning of the current solar year in Jawzjan province and more than 3,000 kilograms of opium have been seized.


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Female officers to receive computer training

Monitoring Desk

KABUL:  A professional computer training course has been launched for the female officers of the 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in North of Afghanistan.

The 209th Shaheen Corps said the training has kicked off in the Communications School of the Shaheen Corps and around 32 officers are currently being trained in professional computer classes.

The female officers are expected to complete their studies over a period of 12 weeks, the Shaheen Corps added. This comes as efforts are underway to increase the presence of the female officers in the ranks of the Afghan national defense and security forces.

The Afghan government had earlier promised that the women will be given more opportunities to assume responsibilities in different sectors, including politics.

In the MoD says around sixteen hundred women are serving with the Afghan national defense and security forces in different fields.

According to the MOD officials, 553 female officers, 114 soldiers, and two pilots are currently serving with the security and defense forces.


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‘IEC to be cleaned of fraudulent people’

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The high council of national and jihadi fronts of Afghanistan announced support for the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Monday. The IEC leadership said the election commission would be cleaned of fraudulent people to earn the support of this organization.

The leadership of IEC and leaders and representatives of high council of national and jihadi fronts of Afghanistan attended the gathering held at the house of Hazrat Mujadidi, head of National Salvation Front.

Addressing the gathering, IEC chairman Dr Abdul Badi Siyad said the participants stressed on timely parliamentary and district council elections. He said holding of transparent polls was impossible with the support of political parties, national figures and people of Afghanistan.

The IEC leadership briefed the participants about the preparations and reforms for the upcoming polls. The IEC was independent and would strive to stop interference in the decisions with the support of political parties. According to a press release issued by IEC, the commission leadership said they had plan for reforms in election commission as per the law. They said the IEC would be cleaned of fraudulent people to earn the support of this organization.

The IEC leadership said changes in the electoral system and giving participation to political parties was linked with electoral laws. It was not the power of IEC, they observed. When the electoral law is changed, the IEC would be responsible for its implementation.

Secretary of national and jihadi fronts of Afghanistan and advisor to president, Abbas Basir addressed the gathering on behalf of high council of political parties. He stressed on free, transparent and neutral elections.

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At least 16 Security personnel killed in insider Attack in Helmand

Monitoring Desk

HELMAND: At least 16 security officials were killed after their colleague opened fire on them in Helmand province.

 Officials confirmed the attack and said that the security official attacked check post in Greshk district and he killed the 16 security officials.

The criminal managed to escape from the crime scene after committing the crime

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack and said the suspect joined the group after fleeing the check post with his colleagues’ weapons.





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95 per cent women in Paktika sans Tazkera

Monitoring Desk

SHARAN: Ninety five percent women and 30 percent men have not obtained National Identity Cards — also known Tazkera in southeastern Paktika province, government officials said and termed it a huge problem.

Momin Khan Kamal, a tribal elder, told Afghan newsmen those women who had been to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, went on foreign trip or needed NIC for any other purpose possessed the NICs.

“These women don’t makes even one percent thus we can say that most of women in Paktiaka sans NICs,” he said. Kamal said cultural restraints remained a hurdle in Paktika and most families did not want to get NIC for their female family members. In most areas the NICs have been considered shame for women, he added.

He says there is a district in Paktika where even men have no NIC. “These are remote districts where the Taliban have been ruling and people never felt the need to obtained NICs,” he said.

Bibi Amina, the resident of Deganan village of Sharan, the provincial capital, said: “Men considered NIC only their right and women also did not show interest to get Tazkera because other women would lambast them.” She asked the government to press men to get NIC for their female family members.

Zainab, the resident of Mashkhelo village in Yousufkhel district, said this was a fact the families deny NICs for women so the government should force men to get NICs for their women.

She added like the issue of Tazkera where women had been deprived, men have full authority in other affairs and were the sole decision makers. Naimatullah Babari, the Provincial Council (PC) member, said if the government did not provide proper environment and facilities for the distribution of NICs, most women in Paktiaka would not be able to take part in future decision making events.

He said insecurity, lack of attention by families, cultural restraints, lack of government attention and particularly the non-availability of NIC distribution officers in some districts were the main reasons that halt the distribution of Tazkera to women and men.

Anwar Katawazi, head of the Population Registration Department in Paktika, said 95 percent women and 30 percent men have not yet obtained their Tazkeras.

He said: “Paktika women have been facing multiple issues while trying to get Tazkera. Khoshamand is a district where no women applied for Tazkera in the past five years and only those women apply for Tazker who needed it for emergency purpose.

In addition, he said in insecurity districts such as Omna, Gomal, Gayan, Zerok, Khosaman, Wazekhwa and Wrmamai districts over 30 percent men have not obtained their Tazkeras. He added in most districts offices for Tazkera distribution had been opened while in some place the fatality could not be provided due to the lack of place.

Political Affairs Expert Mohammad Hassan Haqyar said Tazkera was prove for nationality and those who don’t want to get Tazkera in face deny his/her nationality.

He said most daily affairs of the life were connected with Tazkera and if someone refuse to get Tazkera they would be deprived of many basic right. Haqyar said without Tazkera individuals could not get passport, they could not process their documents and could, go to Hajj or Umra. It is pertinent to mention that besides Paktiaka, people in the remote areas of the country deprived from obtaining Tazkera.


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Moneychangers end strike as DAB agrees with demands

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Sara-i-Shahzada money exchangers on Sunday called off their strike after Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) vowed to agree their key demands in line with the law.

The Moneychangers National Council had organized a countrywide strike on February 7 against restrictions imposed on them by the DAB.

The central bank had barred money exchangers from lending money to traders, accumulating or transferring them from one to another province.

Based on the Da Afghanistan Bank’s regulation, the money changers must audit money before exchanging them so it should not be part of the black economy.

In a statement, the council said, the council representatives have visited the government officials who promised to meet their demands, and the market was opened at 9am in the morning.

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Two local football players killed

Monitoring Desk

HERAT: Two youths were killed and three more wounded in a bomb blast in Anar Dara district in Farah province. An improvised explosive device went off through a vehicle in Jia area in Anar Dara district, leaving two persons dead and three more injured, a high-ranking security official told media.

The dead and injured were going to play football, he said. It is pertinent to mention here that a blast occurred in a cricket playground in Bati Kot district in Nangarhar province two days ago, leaving three local players dead and eight viewers dead.

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Bid to smuggle of heroin to India from Kabul airport foiled

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Bid to smuggle around two kilos and twenty grams of heroin to India from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul has been foiled by the Afghan security forces.

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan (MoI) in a statement said a man was arrested as he was attempting to smuggle around 2.27 kgs of heroin to India via Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The statement further added that the man was detained as he attempting to use his suitcase for the smuggling of the heroin.

According to the ministry, a large packet of heroin was professionally placed inside the suitcase but the bid was foiled before the alleged smuggler manage to pass through the security checks.

No further details have been given regarding the identity of the detained individual as the ministry of interior says further investigations are underway in this regard.

This comes as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its latest findings regarding the opium cultivation in Afghanistan earlier in November yeare, informing regarding a 87 per cent rise in opium cultivation and production in the country as compared to last year.

According to the latest UNODC report, there has been a rapid expansion in opium cultivation in 2017 due to a rapid expansion of the areas used to cultivate poppies.

The report further adds that the production of opium in the current year stands at 9,000 metric tons.

“Increased insurgency and funding to terrorist groups is likely within Afghanistan while more high quality, low cost heroin will reach consumer markets across the world, leading to increased consumption,” the report said.

The UN office says the farm gate value off the opium for the year has been estimated at $1.4 billion which shows a 50 per cent increased as compared to last year.

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OIC shows help for Afghan peace process

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The new ambassador and permanent representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Afghanistan presented his credentials to the Afghan foreign ministry on Sunday.

In his remarks, he supported the Afghan peace process and said the formation of a conference for clerics in this regard was among his top priorities. Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani met the new ambassador of OIC for Afghanistan and accepted his credentials.

Rabbani hoped that the OIC would increase assistance with Afghanistan during the tenure of the new ambassador.

Terming the role of OIC of vital importance in the Muslim countries, he hoped that the support of this organization for the peace process owned and led by Afghanistan would drive it towards success.

According to a foreign ministry press release, the new OIC ambassador stressed on the support for Afghan peace process and said the increasing role of this organization in Afghanistan was among his top priorities.

He said the OIC would hold an international conference of Muslim clerics to show support for the Afghan peace process. He also stressed on the establishment of an Islamic university in Afghanistan.