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Continued Focus Essential to Advance Afghanistan’s Anti-Corruption Efforts: UN Report

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2019)

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Monday released its annual report on Afghanistan’s fight against corruption.

The report findings show that continued focus and effort are essential for building on the progress made in implementing Afghanistan’s anti-corruption strategy.

“Fighting corruption remains a truly fundamental necessity in Afghanistan,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “The United Nations welcomes the progress Afghanistan has made, but all Afghan institutions, along with every segment of society, must persevere in their efforts to advance integrity, accountability, and transparency in the country.”

According to the report, corruption in Afghanistan has weakened the rule of law and put at risk the prospects for peace.

“Fighting corruption remains a truly fundamental and essential endeavor as corruption undermines the rule of law. It opens a door to more crime and creates a vicious circle that fosters a culture of impunity and puts at risk Afghanistan’s journey toward self-reliance,” said Romana Schweiger, the UNAMA Rule of Law Officer.

She further said that corruption “also puts at risk Afghanistan’s prospect for sustainable peace”.

The UN official emphasized that “a negotiated settlement on Afghanistan’s future must be based on integrity and justice”.

The report makes several recommendations, recognizing that the government’s ongoing anti-corruption efforts have yet to impact the lives of most Afghans, and concludes that, notwithstanding the many legal and policy reforms that have been undertaken, corruption remains a substantial obstacle to Afghanistan’s long-term peace and prosperity.

 “The United Nations appreciates the government trying to set up many institutional reform measures this year and last, and we encourage pursuing further reform,” said Yamamoto. “The upcoming elections are a test case for implementing lessons learned.”

Meanwhile, the European Union in Afghanistan has welcomed the report, saying it encourages the Afghan government to establish the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission and execute outstanding arrest warrants.

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Pakistan calls on Biden to stick to US-Taliban deal

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, on Thursday called on Joe Biden, the US president to follow up on the current Afghan peace process and US troops’ withdrawal from the country, reported Al Jazeera.

“I think they should realise there is an opportunity in Afghanistan and they should persevere with what was initiated and not reverse things,” said Qureshi quoted by Al Jazeera.

This comes as Intra-Afghan talks are continuing in the Qatari capital Doha but progress remains slow.

Under last year’s US-Taliban deal, all US troops are due to leave Afghanistan by April.

“We are concerned because we feel violence can vitiate the climate,” said Qureshi quoted by Aljazeera.

“Pakistan has done a lot, we have really bent backwards to create an environment to facilitate the peace process,” he said, while blaming “spoilers” for the violence, identifying them as internal Afghan players.

This comes as violence has been increased recently, with a surge in targeted attacks and bombings across the country for which the Afghan government has blamed the Taliban.

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NATO stands ready to adjust its presence in Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reiterated NATO Support toward Afghan peace process, adding that NATO will address its training mission in Afghanistan in February.

Stoltenberg quoted by NATO website said that “whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a coordinated and deliberate way.”

NATO also support the Afghan peace process and said the organization stands ready to adjust its presence in Afghanistan.

 “NATO supports the Afghan peace talks and, as part of this process, stands ready to further adjust its presence,” said NATO, quoted by the website.

This comes as NATO had said they will continue Resolute Support mission (RS) mission in Afghanistan to train advice and assist Afghan forces.

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MoU on protection, restoration of Herat minarets signed in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: January 22, 2021)

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on restoration and protection of Musalla Minaret of Herat on Thursday signed between the acting minister of information and culture and a representative of Aga Khan Foundation in Kabul.

Dr. Fazel Fazly, head of the Administrative Office of the President (AOP) also spoke and expressed happiness regarding signing of the MoU.

“Technical assistance of the Aga Khan Development Network to Afghanistan government in the field of protection and restoration of the country’s historic monuments from perspective of quality is valuable and tangible as the Network considers all international standards in protection and restoration of cultural and historic monuments,” said Dr. Fazly.

Meanwhile, Sheherazade Hirji, a representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) said that AKDN has restored hisprotic places in Herat, including Qala-e-Ikhtiaruddin ‘Herat Palace’, Khwaja Abdullah Ansari Mausoleum.

 “Aga Khan Development Network has restored 140 – 150 historic sites in Afghanistan so far and is currently playing its part in restoration of the fifth Musalla Minarets of Herat, which shows the Network’s strong commitment towards protection Afghanistan’s cultural heritages,” said Hirji.

Tahir Zuhair, acting minister of information and culture, said that 162 historic sites have been restored in the past six years.

He said effort underway to prevent trafficking of the country’s historic artefacts.

“Based on instruction of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the survey and restoration work on all Bala-e-Hesars and historic sites of the country will be started,” said Zuhair.

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