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
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.