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Afghan Government Pulls Licenses From More Than 1,600 NGOs

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

February 7, 2006

The Afghan government on Tuesday de-licensed more than 1,600 national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), accusing them of committing economic fraud and corruption.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Minister for Economics Mohammad Amin Farhang told reporters that most of the NGOs have taken money from the donor countries and have not implemented the work for which they were funded.

According to Farhang, only 123 de-licensed NGOs were international and the rest were domestic, adding that some of the people running NGOs have fled the country after receiving funds from donors.

"We will prosecute (those running NGOs who have fled) and bring them to justice if they are inside the country and if they are outside the country, the Afghan government will seek the help of Interpol," Farhang said.

According to Farhang, the distribution and management of international aid money for Afghanistan was a major issue at the recent London Donor Conference on Afghanistan.

Farhang said that the Afghan government is fully determined to regulate the NGOs and make them accountable and transparent.

Corruption amongst NGOs has been a hot topic of political debate for the past year.

Just before the Afghan presidential election in October 2004, Ramazan Bashar, the former Afghan planning minister, resigned from his position after the Karzai cabinet did not approve his plan to dismiss hundreds of NGOs.

Recently Afghan president Hamid Karzai said that some of the money provided by the international donors has been wasted by foreign organizations and NGOS and claimed that the money were being spent for luxurious vehicles and expensive houses.

At the recent London conference, where Afghanistan received the pledge of 10.5 billion dollars, the Afghan government insisted on disbursing at least 50 per cent of the money on its own so that it can check on the mismanagement of the funds.

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