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Acting Minister of Commerce and Industries Suspended

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2020)

The Afghan parliament declined the budget of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, and suspended its acting minister, Ajmal Ahmadi, from his authorities. His signature on any official document and contract is considered a criminal act, said the speaker of the parliament.

Earlier, the Lower House had summoned Ajmal Ahmadi, the acting minister, to the parliament, but he refused to attend the National Council for accountability. This was severely minded by the governmental officials.

“Ashraf Ghani once said that every six months he would take a visit to the parliament and respond to the people. Now the situation turned in a way that his minister is not even responding. This will have negative consequences,” said Mir Rahman Rahmani speaker of the house.

In the meantime, some of the MPs underlined that the acting minister of Commerce and Industries has violated the law in many cases.

“Ajmal Ahmadi should be introduced to the Anti-Heavy Crimes Directorate. We have summoned him several times, but he would send his ‘deputy’ instead. The president should dismiss the incompetent minister,” said Abbas Ibrahimzada, MP.

Rahmani added that “We do not recognize Ajmal Ahmadi as the official minister of Commerce and Industries. His signature on any official document or contract will be a crime. The budget is suspended. The draft will be sent to the three government branches and embassies.”

The parliament eventually decided with the majority of votes to apply the draft.

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Arghandiwal claims he was sacked after opposing AOP contracts

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

Former finance minister, Abdulhadi Arghandiwal, who was fired last week by President Ashraf Ghani, said on Monday that circles within the Presidential Palace (ARG) worked to have him ousted after he refused to approve contracts.

“Some circles in ARG worked in their personal interests to stop me from working. I asked the President to tell me directly everything, not by other circles,” said Arghandiwal.

This comes two days after Ghani fired Arghandiwal and approved a new acting minister.

According to ARG, the reason for Arghandiwal’s dismissal was the delay in collection of taxes; failure to cooperate with an assessment team investigating illegal appoints at the ministry; poor management’ a lack of commitment to good governance; not abiding by Article 77 of the constitution; and for violating decrees and directions issued by ARG.

Arghandiwal meanwhile said on Monday at a press conference that he had been dismissed because he opposed the procurement of different types of meat at inflated prices for the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) and he had disagreed with officials over an oil contract.

“Ten days ago a session of national procurement was held and I told the session that we can’t approve a contract that has 18 types of meat as our soldiers don’t even have water on the battlefield; President Ghani also rejected it. The second was an oil contract; oil in bazaars is 34 AFNs but on the contract it was 41 AFN. I opposed this,” said Arghandiwal.

This comes after a member of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) claimed that the AOP had gone ahead and procured 18 types of meat and vegetables worth 30 million AFN, in a move that sparked criticsm.

ARG has not yet commented.

Arghadiwal had been a close ally of Ghani during his previous election campaigns and was recently approved by the Wolesi Jirga as finance minister.

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US to consult with govt after reviewing deal with Taliban

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

President Ashraf Ghani said at a cabinet meeting on Monday that Washington will hold consultations with the Afghan government once the new Biden administration has reviewed the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February last year.

Ghani’s announcement comes a few days after the new US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib over the phone.

After their phone conversation late Friday, Sullivan stated Washington would review the deal.

Ghani meanwhile said on Monday that the discussion between the two NSAs shows the Biden administration recognizes the Afghan government and the Afghan security and defense forces as a strategic counterpart.

“The US will review the Taliban pact quickly and after that will hold consultations with the Afghan government to reach a roadmap,” said Ghani.

Political analysts, meanwhile, said that the increase in violence by Taliban and warnings issued by government are not convincing in terms of securing peace.

“They sit for peace in Qatar but discuss war and violence… they should stop the killing of Afghans,” said Wahid Faqiryar, a political analyst.

“I think the US will tell both sides (Taliban and government) to start peace talks again,” said Tariq Farhadi, another analyst.

On the other hand, close sources to the Taliban say the US will decide on whether to also engage in peace talks.

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Italian Embassy vehicle targeted in IED explosion in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

An armored Land Cruiser belonging to the Italian Embassy was targeted in an early morning IED explosion in Kabul’s PD4 area in yet another targeted attack.

This time there were no casualties reported, police confirmed.

Security sources confirmed the Land Cruiser belonged to the embassy. Police stated a second vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, was also damaged in the explosion. 

This vehicle belonged to the Ministry of Economy. 

According to sources, no casualties were reported.

The incident happened at around 7.35am in Parwan-e-Do area of Kabul. 

This comes just a day after a senior official of De Afghanistan Bank, (the Central Bank) was targeted in an IED explosion in Kabul.

The bank said in a statement that Abdullah Dawrani, the head of the Financial Dispute Resolution Commission, was the target in an IED explosion at around 8.15 am on Sunday morning.

According to the statement, Dawrani was wounded and his bodyguard was killed in the blast.

The bank stated that another person was also injured in the explosion, which occurred in the Shah Shaheed area of PD8 of the city but did not reveal the person’s identity.

No group has claimed responsibility for either of the attacks.

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