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US-Afghan Gov’ts failed to achieve Joint goals: SIGAR

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2016)

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 Today, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, testified before the United States House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Unfortunately, SIGAR’s cumulative work to date has shown that TFBSO’s nearly $800 million investment in Afghanistan has generally not delivered on its stated goals.

The compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station and a cashmere goat’s project are glaring examples of TFBSO activities SIGAR has examined that were ill-conceived, poorly planned, or left unfinished. Further, it appears that TFBSO’s activities in Afghanistan were stymied by

several avoidable problems and repeated mistakes from its Iraq experience that hindered Task Force operations and outcomes.

 Inspector General Sopko noted that DOD’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) efforts in Afghanistan were marred by the absence of a clear strategy, a lack of consistent management and leadership, and a failure to coordinate with other U.S. government agencies.

 TFBSO’s lack of strategic direction and inconsistent management resulted in a scattershot approach to economic development resulting in an $800 million investment in Afghanistan that has generally not delivered on its stated goals.

 Mr. Sopko has stated that My testimony today will broadly discuss TFBSO’s challenges with project development, execution, and oversight, and, at the request of the Chairwoman, will focus on three TFBSO expenditures that illustrate these challenges:(1) nearly $150 million for private housing and private security guards for TFBSO personnel in Afghanistan; (2) $43 million for a CNG filling station; and (3) $6 million on a project to bolster Afghanistan’s cashmere industry..

 Poor policy coordination in between the Afghan and US Governments have caused the following projects to be wasted in Afghanistan.

 “Based on our previous reports published indicated that poor coordination in between the US- Afghan Government including the Ministry of Foreign affairs and USAID have caused that the following Governments failed to achieve the goals on extraction of mineral sources, Gas, Oil in Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko said,”

The following poor coordination in between the two Governments comes after that corruption in Afghanistan is huge challenges standing against the Afghan Government and International community.

 

Reported by Fahim Noori

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Central Bank to replace old and damaged banknotes

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank) said Tuesday that new banknotes are being printed and will be put into circulation in Afghanistan soon.

Addressing a press conference, the Bank’s General Manager for Payments Mir Aziz Baraki stated that the bank collects around 3.8 billion AFN worth of old and damaged banknotes from circulation each year and replaces them with new banknotes.

Baraki added that the bank would issue 380 million notes this year in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 AFN.

The official said an amount has already been printed and would be released into circulation soon.

There is an estimated 293 billion AFN (approximately $3.7 billion) in circulation in Afghanistan currently.

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Saleh rejects SIGAR claims of cash being smuggled out through airport

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

Amrullah Saleh, First Vice President has rejected the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) report over the smuggling of cash from the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

In his daily 6:30 am meeting, Saleh stated: “However a massive amount of foreign currency does exit Afghanistan’s porous land borders by cross-border networks.

“The report on the flight of foreign currency from Kabul airport is not correct and substantiated,” said Saleh.

Saleh added that a large amount of cash was flowing out of the country to Pakistan.

“The strict anti-money laundering regulations have created a dark parallel market. Let’s be real,” he emphasized.

Last week, SIGAR reported that the unchecked flow of cash out of Afghanistan still exits at the Kabul airport due to poor screening procedures.

According to the report, cash counting machines, which were funded by the US government, are not being used for the purposes intended and the only cash counting machine confirmed to be working is in the arrival entrance, instead of the departure area where strict cash controls are most needed to help prevent cash smuggling.

In addition, the machines lack connectivity to the Internet, which in turn prevents Afghan investigative authorities from tracking currency suspected of being laundered.

“The absence of fully functional and strategically positioned cash counting machines, and declaration forms in the VIP section along with the limited screening of VIP passengers – who are most likely to have large amounts of cash – severely limits the Afghan government’s ability to fully implement its anti-money laundering laws at the airport,” John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction stated in the report.

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Govt to purchase local products in move to boost domestic market

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2021)

The Afghan National Procurement Authority (NPA) and the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday, that will compel government entities to purchase only domestic products where possible.

According to the MoU, which was signed between Ilham Omar Hotak, NPA Chief, and Shirbaz Kaminzada, Chief of the ACCI, all government departments will have to use domestic products from next year (1400 Solar Calendar).

Hotak said at the event that government will in the future have to purchase domestically produced or manufactured products, despite the estimated 25 percent price difference.

Hotak urged the ACCI to guarantee the quality of products, stating “all industrialists should standardize their products.”

“We want to use all alternatives to promote our domestic products in the year 1400 and all government bodies will be bound to use domestic products.”

The ACCI officials, meanwhile, stated they would invest more in the country if the government promised to support local products.

ACCI Chief, Shirbaz Kaminzada stated: “If domestic products are included in government deals we are ready to invest in other sectors as well.”

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