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Anti-corruption reforms must remain priority in Afghanistan: UN

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2020)

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a report said Thursday that sustained and effective efforts in fighting corruption in Afghanistan remain critical for the country’s future.

“Anti-corruption efforts and integrity reforms must be key priorities for Afghanistan’s leadership, especially so given the country’s pressing challenges and opportunities around peace and development,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“Addressing the COVID-19 crisis and building a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous Afghanistan requires integrity and accountability – fundamental principles for the future of any nation,” Lyons added.

UNAMA’s fourth annual anti-corruption report, titled ‘Afghanistan’s Fight against Corruption: Crucial for Peace and Prosperity,’ reviews the progress Afghanistan has made in anti-corruption reform and provides analysis and recommendations to support Afghanistan’s institutions in combatting corruption to improve the lives of all citizens who must grapple each day with the issue.

The report describes how anti-corruption reforms slowed in 2019, with fewer legislative and strategic initiatives undertaken to fight corruption than in previous years. The report outlines how Afghanistan’s 2017 anti-corruption strategy, which was a temporary policy document, ended without a successor. In addition, the report notes, the institutional gaps left by stalled progress in both strategy and implementation were not filled by the expected establishment of an independent anti-corruption commission.

The report makes several recommendations to Afghanistan’s government, recognizing that its previous anti-corruption efforts had yet to positively impact the lives of most Afghans, and concludes that, notwithstanding the many legal and policy reforms that have been undertaken, corruption remains one of the most significant obstacles to Afghanistan’s long-term peace and prosperity.

The report also acknowledges notable areas of progress, such as the Anti-Corruption Justice Centre enhancing its ability to prosecute and adjudicate high-level corruption cases.

“Additional progress in all areas of the fight against corruption is crucial, as the international community faces daunting economic challenges that continue to draw attention away from Afghanistan,” said Lyons, who is also head of UNAMA. “The upcoming development coordination conference in Geneva is expected to reinvigorate much-needed international support to Afghanistan, but the country needs to make further headway in battling corruption.”

The report recommends that the government develops a realistic long-term strategy that builds on past achievements; that the anti-corruption commission is swiftly established; that the law-enforcement capacity dedicated to corruption investigations and related arrests be boosted; that oversight and management of public resources be strengthened; and that justice sector reforms be prioritized by fostering judicial independence.

The report also recommends that the justice sector improve the transparency and accountability of its work and independently adjudicates corruption cases; that the National Assembly collaborates with the executive in anti-corruption reforms while strengthening internal accountability and integrity; and that civil society and the international community support anti-corruption reforms.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting Afghanistan in further implementing its obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption, which Afghanistan ratified in 2008.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention’s far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem. The majority of UN Member States are parties to the Convention.

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IEA defense minister leaves Kabul for UAE

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) Ministry of Defense says Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob left Kabul for United Arab Emirates on Saturday.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, MoD said the defense minister left Kabul as head of delegation for the United Arab Emirates.

The defense ministry stated that the purpose of the trip is to meet with the leaders of the UAE and Afghans based in the country and to strengthen the relations of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with the Gulf countries.

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IEA lays foundation stone for complex marking Khost prisoner-swap site

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is set to build a complex in the area where US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in 2014 in exchange for five IEA members held in Guantanamo prison.

Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, who laid the foundation stone of the complex in Khost province, said that the complex will include a religious seminary, a school, a clinic and a freedom monument.

“Today is a very happy day for us. God has liberated our country… it is very fortunate that we are laying the foundation for a freedom monument here… release of the five prisoners was a source of happiness for Afghanistan,” Haqqani said.

Abdulhaq Wasiq, current head of intelligence, Mohammad Fazil Mazloom, deputy defense minister, Noorullah Noori, minister of frontiers and tribal affairs, Khairullah Khairkhwa, minister of information and culture, and Mohammad Nabi Omari, deputy minister of interior were released in a 2014 deal between the Obama administration and the IEA to free US soldier Bergdahl.

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US envoy stresses importance of Japan’s contributions to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, has held talks with Japanese officials on humanitarian needs, human rights and political dialogue during his two-day visit to the country.

“Japan has been a friend of the Afghan people and our partner there for over 20 yrs, and we deeply appreciate Japan’s active diplomacy and continued generosity today,” West said on Twitter on Saturday.

“We are always stronger, on every challenge, when we act together with allies. True in Afghanistan – we’ll continue to need Japan’s expertise and diverse contributions,” West said.

The envoy also said that he got “sage advice” from Tadamichi Yamamoto, a Japanese who served as UN envoy for Afghanistan during 2016-2020.

He also discussed the economic strategy with Japan International Cooperation Agency.

West’s Japan visit was part of his tour to the region that includes India and the United Arab Emirates.

West is expected to consult with partners and Afghans regarding the humanitarian and economic crises in Afghanistan, protection of Afghans’ rights, and shared security concerns, according to a statement from the US State Department.

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