Afghanistan dissolves 172 NGOs for misconduct
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 23:08
Kabul: Afghanistan's government, facing international pressure to wipe out corruption, said on Tuesday it had dissolved 152 Afghan and 20 international aid organisations, some for misconduct.

The economy ministry said licences for the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were cancelled for three reasons -- some at their own request, some because they were unable to secure funds and some for unspecified "misconduct".

"After a professional and legal investigation and examination, a decision was made that 152 domestic and 20 foreign NGOs be dissolved," the ministry said in a statement.

The Filtration and Dissolution Commission, headed by economics minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, was set up by President Hamid Karzai to assess the conduct of almost 1,500 aid organisations operating in Afghanistan.

Karzai is currently on a state visit to the United States aimed at mending fences following a series of high-profile outbursts by both sides.

Despite promising to deal with endemic corruption when he took office for five more years in November, Karzai is widely considered to have taken little action other than blaming donor nations for lax supervision of pledged aid.

Tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid has poured into Afghanistan since the US invasion to rid the country of the Taliban regime in 2001, yet much of it has disappeared into private pockets with little trace.

While Karzai's Washington visit is meant to return relations to an even footing, pressure for him to act tough on graft is unlikely to ease as Western public support on engagement in the country continues to fall.

The United States and NATO have 130,000 troops in the country keeping Karzai in power in the face of a Taliban-led insurgency, with another 20,000 on the way by August.

Dealing with ineffective aid groups is seen as one way of removing potential thorns.

"Some requested dissolution, some failed to present their bi-annual work reports to relevant authorities over the past two years and some were found to have engaged in activities contrary to what they pledged in their mandate," Sediq Amarkhil finance ministry spokesman told AFP.

Some 1,224 domestic and 301 foreign NGOs are still registered with the ministry, operating in a various sectors.

This is not the first time the Afghan government has dissolved aid organisations -- last year the commission cancelled the operating licences of 255 domestic and 13 foreign NGOs.

Aid groups play a significant role in delivery of key and vital services both on humanitarian grounds, and strengthening the leadership and legitimacy of the government.


First Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 23:08

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