Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, on Thursday briefed the UN Security Council on the situation in Afghanistan and described corruption as a major challenge for the country.

The UN envoy said that the impunity of well-connected political figures remains a major obstacle to fighting corruption in Afghanistan.

“Like so many countries, Afghanistan continues to be plagued by corruption, which corrodes the confidence of the population and the donor community, and fuels the ongoing conflict. In spite of progress made in previous years in anti-corruption reforms, this progress has slowed in the past year, with key institutional reforms being neglected, including the establishment of the all-too-important independent anti-corruption commission. Apparent impunity of well-connected political figures remains a major issue. Additional progress in the fight against corruption is therefore crucial as the 2020 Pledging Conference on Afghanistan approaches,” she said.

President Ashraf Ghani has repeatedly stated in the past that fighting corruption is among his top priorities.

Meanwhile, Warren L. Coats, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed shock over the suspension of Qasim Rahimi, the deputy head of the Central Bank of Afghanistan.

He said that the dismissal has posed serious threats to gains the bank the made over the past two decades.

“I am shocked to learn yesterday that Mr. Rahimi has been fired from his position, it is illegally executed dismissal. This is a shocking setback for Central Bank’s dramatic progress over these years, I hope that the parliament and the judicial system will scrutinize this step and hopefully reverse it,” said Coats.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of the Rule of Law and Governance, led by President Ghani, has said that in the future no one will be hired within the Ministry of Finance unless the candidates pass an exam of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.

“If this process is transferred to the Administrative Reforms Commission–and there is no intervention–we will support this process fully,” said Shafi Samim, an economic expert in Kabul.

“The Finance Ministry over the past five years had better privileges than other ministries; unfortunately the government was supporting this in the Finance Ministry,” said Yarbaz Hamidi, a member of parliament.

Last week NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also described corruption as a major issue in Afghanistan.



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