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Senior officials from previous govt ‘fled to luxury homes abroad’



(Last Updated On: June 13, 2022)

As Afghanistan’s former government collapsed, in August last year, many senior officials in the Ashraf Ghani regime fled the country to luxurious homes they had purchased abroad ahead of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) takeover.

In a review of public documents and interviews, the Wall Street Journal on Monday stated that some officials who held top jobs during Ghani’s tenure, are now living in mansions along California’s coast and in major cities around the world.

Some of these former officials, including lawmakers, are also living in clusters in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, WSJ reported.

This comes as thousands of Afghan evacuees struggle world-wide, and Afghans at home live in abject poverty.

According to the WSJ, an investigation was carried out by them to determine the whereabouts of dozens of Ghani’s cabinet officials, influential figures that made up his inner circle, and key lawmakers involved in security and foreign-policy matters.

Most were found to have relocated overseas, often in countries where publicly available property and company records are limited.

Ghani, who fled on the afternoon of August 15, initially stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi while his wife selected a private villa for their permanent residence that was provided by the Emiratis, the Journal reported. A spokesman for the UAE told the Journal that Ghani and his family were welcomed on humanitarian grounds, along with other Afghans fleeing the country.

Many of the former Afghan officials spoken to by the WSJ said they left because they feared retaliation from the IEA. However, the few that stayed behind, including former President Hamid Karzai and former CEO Abdullah Abdullah, have largely been left alone.

The WSJ reported that US public records offer a window into the lives of some former Afghan officials in America. Among them is Hamdullah Mohib, the ousted president’s closest ally and national-security adviser. Mohib fled Afghanistan with the president.

According to the report, Mohib has long held close connections to the US. His wife is American but he remained a British citizen through his time in office.

In an interview, Mohib said he had been concerned about security and his pregnant wife’s health, and had moved his family to the Shangri-La Hotel in Abu Dhabi, paid for by the UAE, before Kabul’s fall.

The UAE said it also provided accommodation on humanitarian grounds, the WSJ reported.

The family later moved to a four-bedroom home in Florida, on an attractive bay lined with palm trees, according to public records and confirmed by Mohib. The house is owned by his mother-in-law. Mohib said he owns no property under his name anywhere in the world.

US property and company records show that Eklil Hakimi, the president’s longtime finance minister and ally, bought at least 10 properties in California, including during Hakimi’s time in office, and after leaving in 2018, the Journal reported.

According to California property records, Hakimi and his wife’s properties include a five-bedroom home and pool, in a luxury Laguna Niguel community near the beach. It is worth $2.5 million, according to the real-estate company Zillow. In total, the 10 properties are worth more than $10 million. The couple’s latest acquisition, made early this year, was a $1.1 million beachfront South Cove condo in a new development in California, WSJ reported.

Afghanistan’s last finance minister, Khalid Payenda, owns two properties near Washington, DC, one of which was bought with cash, WSJ reported. Zillow shows them to be worth more than $1 million.

Former Afghan vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, is now in Turkey. WSJ reported that a local journalist posted a photo on Twitter that said it showed him receiving a guest at his residence in the expensive gated Or-An community in Ankara. It couldn’t be determined when Dostum purchased the home, and a spokesman for Dostum declined to comment, WSJ reported.

A database of Dubai property records reviewed by the Journal contained records for several high-profile former Afghan officials.

Ghani’s minister of economy, Mustafa Mastoor, owns a condo in a development on the Dubai Marina, according to Dubai records reviewed by the Journal.

Also in Dubai is the former powerful governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, who has moved to an apartment he owns, located in an expensive area of Dubai known as The Palm.

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3 female thieves accused of stealing jewelry arrested in Balkh



(Last Updated On: June 9, 2023)

Local security officials have arrested three women accused of stealing jewelry worth $45,000 from a house in northern Balkh province.

Deputy police chief Abdul Hai Abid said security forces arrested the female thieves along with two kids who had stolen gold from a house in the 10th security district of Mazar-i-Sharif on Thursday.

The group, in coordination with a man, stole some of a woman’s gold from a makeup salon located in Karte Ariana, 10th security district of the province and fled from the area.

According to Abid, the stolen jewelry, which includes a crown, necklace, belt and bracelet, has been returned to its owner.

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UNICEF concerned over report of aid group ban from Afghan education



(Last Updated On: June 9, 2023)

The U.N. children’s agency said on Thursday it was following up with Afghanistan’s Islamic Emirate officials over whether international organizations would be excluded from education projects, which could affect hundreds of thousands of students, Reuters reported.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned by reports that over 500,000 children, including over 300,000 girls, could lose out on quality learning through community-based education within a month if international non-governmental organizations working in the field of education are no longer allowed to operate,” said UNICEF’s Afghanistan spokesperson, Samantha Mort.

The agency was seeking clarification, she said.

Spokespeople for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Islamic Emirate that took power in 2021 has closed most secondary schools to girls, stopped female students attending universities and stopped many Afghan women working for aid groups and the United Nations.

However, international organizations, including the U.N., have been heavily involved in education projects, including community-based classes, often held in homes in rural areas.

Two humanitarian aid sources said that in recent days humanitarian agencies had heard that provincial authorities had been directed to stop the involvement of international organizations in education projects.

The Islamic Emirate had not confirmed any orders to aid agencies seeking clarity.

In New York, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “If this would come to pass, this would be another horrendous step backwards for the people of Afghanistan.”

“We’ve not gotten anything official, anything in writing,” he said, adding that the U.N. message to the Taliban [IEA] administration was that “every person has a right to an education.”

The U.N. estimates that 8.7 million Afghans are in need of humanitarian aid for education this year and it was planning to reach about 3 million people under a humanitarian package for the year, which was revised this week to reflect lower funding.

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Haqqani in Jawzjan: We are building trust, inclusivity will come automatically



(Last Updated On: June 9, 2023)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is building public trust and inclusivity will come automatically, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani said during his visit to northern Jawzjan province.

Addressing a gathering, Haqqani said that the “enemies” sought to divide Afghanistan under different names in the past, but now IEA will not allow this to happen.

“The enemies wanted Afghanistan to fall in a conflict, where the North, South, West and East would be divided into different islands, but Alhamdulillah, this is a Muslim nation and a patriotic nation. Alhamdulillah, all the evil circles fled the country. The then rulers had created a misunderstanding and we are removing this misunderstanding. Henceforth, the enemies’ plots will be neutralized and love and trust will increase,” Haqqani said.

Haqqani also emphasized that the Islamic Emirate is committed to the implementation of the general amnesty decree, and no one will be allowed to arbitrarily violate this decree.

“The most important thing is to build trust and bridge the gap. After building trust, inclusivity will come automatically, because the government is a trust, it is not someone’s property. Sometimes it is mine and sometimes it is one of the other brothers. The more proper the keeping, the more will be survival,” Haqqani said.

Meanwhile, Jawzjan Governor Gul Haider Shafaq said that people want an Islamic system in the country, not government posts.

On the other hand, a number of residents of Jawzjan province reiterated their support for the IEA and asked the government to address the people’s problems.

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