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Afghanistan resumes Intl flights after three months of Coronavirus halt

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(Last Updated On: June 24, 2020)

Afghanistan has allowed some international airlines to operate flights to and from the country from today with special precautions after a gap of three months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement that the Turkish Airlines will resume flights on Wednesday, 24th of June.

According to the statement, Emirates Airlines will resume flights to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airports by tomorrow, 25th of June.

“All passengers holding visas and residents permit for Turkey, UAE, European countries and the US can take international flights from tomorrow (today),” the Civil Aviation Authority said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, domestic airlines – Ariana and Kam Air – have also resumed international flights, the organization added.

It comes as flights to/from most of the countries around the globe including Afghanistan were halted due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19. 

Recently, with a decline in the spread of the virus, some countries have gradually resumed their flights.

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Afghanistan customs revenue lost to ’embezzlement’

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(Last Updated On: July 9, 2020)

Although taxpayers pay customs duties at the Afghan customs, not all of the revenue being collected in the Afghan government’s account, local officials said.

The ports of Torkham in Nangarhar, Islam Qala in Herat, Hairatan in Balkh, Aqina in Faryab, Spin Boldak in Kandahar, Shirkhan Bandar in Kunduz, Angur Ada in Paktika and several other ports in the north and south of the country have witnessed widespread corruption.

In these ports, although custom fees are paid by taxpayers, little money is raised in government reserves, most of the ports are said to be in the hands of gunmen and the powerful.

Local officials in the provinces where the ports are located say that corruption in customs has recently peaked.

On the other hand, the Integrity Watch of Afghanistan criticizes the lack of administrative reforms, adding that unreasonable appointments have increased corruption in the country’s customs and that the government has not yet taken any steps to reform the process. According to the head of the institution, the current situation has led to organized corruption in customs.

The Ministry of Finance also promises to bring transparency to the country’s customs.

Finance Ministry spokesman Shamrooz Khan Masjidi said customs revenues are being closely monitored to prevent corruption.

Earlier, the governor of Herat said that Islam Qala’s revenue was being looted by mafia gangs and the warlords. According to economists, this is the case in most of the country’s customs.

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Millions of dollars embezzled in Afghan customs: Watchdog

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan says that corrupt employees in Afghan customs, local tyrants, and government figures have embezzled millions of dollars of customs revenues.

Based on the findings of local authorities, ten cargoes are being pulled out of the customs office without paying the customs duty with the same plate number, and about 100 cargoes are not paying their customs duties daily.

Ghulam Hashim, a member of the Herat Provincial Council, said: “Ten trucks are being cleared through customs with one plate number. Extra tonnage vehicles up to 100 trucks a day, extra tonnage fuel tankers were being cleared through customs.”

The head of Islam Qala Customs also confirms the widespread corruption in this customs.

“The threats from the powerful and the mafia are so much that 100 percent of the legal work cannot be done there, the high-level work of the employees is carried out by force, and even some employees, including the human resources manager, have been beaten,” said Mustafa Hakimi, Herat’s customs chief. “

Herat’s governor says only 30,000 afghanis are paid out of the three million AFN from the costums duties of a cargo.

Ahmad Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat, said: “Seven vehicles have been loaded, seven of which have illegal loads, overloads, warnings and reload.”

Findings of Integrity Watch of Afghanistan from the Customs Office show that millions of dollars’ worth of customs revenue has been lost.

“Millions of dollars of Afghanistan’s customs revenue is wasted every year because there are people infected with corruption in the customs and the intervention of local powerful people and people within the government,” said Naser Timouri, a researcher at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Finance, however, confirmed the existence of corruption in the customs.

“The issue of corruption is not in doubt that it exists, but the figures presented are waiting for the governor to share his findings with us so that we can find out on what basis the governor obtained these figures,” said Shamrooz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. It’s found. “

Observers at Integrity Watch of Afghanistan say that non-transparent and non-competitive customs clearance has corrupted the structure.

Farid Ahmad, a spokesman for the Independent Administrative Reform Commission, said: “So far, all recruitment at customs has been done by the Ministry of Finance and the Independent Administrative Reform Commission has played no role. But by presidential decree, customs posts are set to compete freely.” “

Although the Ministry of Finance says that scanners have been set up in customs offices for corruption, sources say that in some customs offices, the scanners are kept inactive due to product exemptions.

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Afghanistan, India sign MoUs for development of educational infrastructure

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(Last Updated On: July 5, 2020)

Memorandum of Understandings for the construction of five educational infrastructures was signed between Afghanistan and India on Sunday.

According to the agreement, three schools and two universities will be built in Nuristan, Farah, Badakhshan, and Kapisa with the cost of $ 2.6 million. 

The MoUs were signed by Economy Minister Mustafa Mastoor, Higher Education Minister Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Deputy Education Minister Abdul Subhan Raouf, and Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar on Sunday.

The agreement envisages the construction of two schools in Badakhshan province and one school in Nuristan province for the Ministry of Education, and the construction of a road at Kapisa Medical University and the renovation of an educational building in Farah.

 “The construction cost of these schools is $ 900,000, which is in Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces,” said Abdul Subhan Rauf, deputy director of administration and finance at the Afghan Ministry of Education.

“These projects should be implemented by the Ministry of Economy as soon as possible,” said Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Acting Minister of Higher Education.

India’s ambassador to Afghanistan says that the launch of the projects will help increase the capacity of students in Afghanistan adding that apart from physical projects in Afghanistan, India has worked in building capacity of youth in Afghanistan as well.

Since 2005, India has implemented 400 developmental projects in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, which promises to help Afghanistan in the long run in various areas.

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