Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) on Thursday said that over 25,000 posts were still vacant in government institutions.
IARCSC spokesman said that within three months it would start hiring 18,000 new recruits to fill these posts.
“The process was completed in three months, exams were held in 33 provinces and only Kabul province is remaining, because we have over 80,000 applicants here,” said IARCSC spokesman Abdul Fareed Ahmad.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) said that over two million people were jobless in the country.
Government plans to create 2.2 million jobs in the country within the next three years, said the ministry.
“Unemployment has become a major problem, therefore the ministry of labor, social affairs decided to start public mobilization and seek resolution to the issue of joblessness,” said Baktash Royesh, a media advisor to MoLSAMD.
But people have urged government officials and institutions to avoid discrimination in the hiring of new employees.
“We see that thousands of our people are living in confusion and mentally they are sick because of unemployment,” said senator Fawzia Samkanai.
“I call on the administrative reforms commission to consider transparency in the recruitment of employees,” said Mohammad Hanif Hanafi, the head of the senate’s complaints commission.
Previously there were reports that over six million people are jobless in Afghanistan, but MoLSAMD says that the number of people unemployed are estimated to be about two million.
Afghanistan on Thursday piped Bangladesh by one run in their third and final Twenty/20 match at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, India, whitewashing the series 3-0.
Chasing Afghanistan’s 146-run target, Bangladesh, once reeling at 35/3, missed the target by just one run after Mushfiqur Rahman (46 off 37) and Mahmudullah (45 off 38) took their side to the edge of victory.
Batting first, Afghanistan with a combined effort by top and middle order batsman helped them post a fighting 145/6 in the allotted 20 overs. With No 4 batsman Samiullah Shenwari remaining not out on 33, the designated home side lost six wickets in the allotted overs.
Bangladesh spinner Nazmul Islam and Jayed picked up two wickets each while Test and T20I Shakib al Hasan and occasional pacer Ariful bagged one scalp apiece. Shakib dismissed middle-order batsman Najibullah Zadran to emerge as the fastest cricketer to reach the double of 500 wickets and 10,000 runs in international cricket.
The new cricketing sensation Rashid Khan was adjudged “Man of the series”, while Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur was chosen as the “Man of the Match”. Rashid bagged eight wickets in the three-match series with an exceptional economy of 4.45, averaging 6.12.
The Tigers were restricted to 144 for the loss of six wickets, with wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim top-scoring with a 37-ball 46, featuring seven fours. All-rounder Mahmudullah chipped in with a 38-ball 45, including three boundaries and a couple of sixes.
The United Kingdom assured support to Afghanistan in exploration of international market and provision of best environment for girls’ education, an official said on Friday.
Mujib Rahman Rahimi, Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) spokesman, on his social media account wrote that CEO Abdullah held meeting with UK Secretary International Development Penny Mordaunt during this trip.
Abdullah thanked the UK support for Afghanistan and wished the continuation of assistance to the war-torn country.
The CEO demanded technical support from the UK international development secretary for Afghanistan’s air corridor program, greater opportunities for girls’ education and UK greater participation and support in the upcoming global economic conference.
International Economic Conference on Afghanistan is scheduled this year in November in Geneva.
Describing President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement of ceasefire with the Taliban as “courageous”, the White House on Thursday said the terrorist outfit needs to acknowledge that it cannot achieve its objectives on the battlefield.
“President Ghani’s remarks at the Kabul Process conference combined with today’s announcement of the ceasefire initiative demonstrate the Afghan government’s willingness to undertake difficult steps toward a political settlement,” Lisa Curtis, the Deputy Assistant to US President and Senior Director for South and Central Asia at National Security Council, White House told a conference organized by the US Institute of peace.
“The onus of responsibility is now on the Taliban to respond positively, so a peace process begins with all sides sitting down at the table,” she said, noting that the United States is ready to participate in the discussion, but it cannot serve as a substitute for the Afghan government and the Afghan people.
Observing that no one believes that there is a military solution to this conflict, she said that military force plays a role in helping to set conditions for an ultimate peace settlement. “We also believe that the Taliban will have to accept that they cannot achieve their own objectives on the battlefield,” Curtis said.
“Of course, we recognize the scope of the challenge with which we are faced. One positive point that we can look at today is the consensus within the Afghan government on the necessity for a peace process. Given the sheer brutality of this conflict and attacks by the Taliban and the Haqqani network, including those that have recently taken place in Kabul, a natural reaction would be to pull back from talking about peace,” she said.
“However, as we saw in today’s courageous ceasefire announcement, our Afghan partners are sustaining their focus and pursuing with persistence the goal of a peaceful solution,” Curtis said.
“A political settlement must be negotiated through a process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. Unfortunately, the Taliban spring offensive announcement and wave of heinous attacks, especially those we’ve seen in Kabul call into question the Taliban’s interest in a peace process,” she said.
“The Taliban must understand that it can only achieve its goals at the negotiating table, and let me assure you that the US, for its part, prioritizes the pursuit of a peace process,” she said.
In her remarks, Curtis blamed Pakistan for the continued existence of sanctuaries within its territory. “The fact is that the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani network, has enjoyed sanctuary in Pakistan throughout the past 16 years of conflict,” she said.
“We have asked for Pakistan’s assistance in facilitating a peace process and we have sought to understand the Pakistan’s own core security concerns and ensure that it’s interests are taken into account in any peace process,” she said.
“However, we have to be clear that Pakistan’s interests are not served by a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. Pakistan has a fundamental responsibility to address the use of its territory by these malign actors. One can acknowledge Pakistan’s complex security calculus without absolving it about it’s a responsibility to do something about these malign actors,” she added.
“The last line of effort is encouraging better relations between the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and we have certainly been encouraged by the reinvigorated dialogue between Kabul and Islamabad that has happened in recent months,” Curtis said.
Noting that regional engagement is central to America’s efforts, she said one must ensure Afghanistan’s near and far neighbors all agree that Afghanistan should be stable and peaceful. “This means obtaining buy in from key regional stakeholders through engagements like the Kabul Process conference, the Tashkent, as well as other diplomatic efforts that we’re pursuing on a bilateral basis,” she said.
The concluding statement of Kabul Process Conference made clear the international community support for a practical plan for peace and reconciliation. “Our second line of effort focuses on encouraging grassroots peace initiatives. This means working closely with the Afghan government to ensure that there are ways for Taliban fighters who are ready to stop fighting to return to civil society. This does not mean that we attend to recreate earlier efforts that were largely unsuccessful,” she said.
Watchdog finds Over 20,000 Civilians Killed In Nine Years
The Independent Human Rights Commission has found that more than 64,100 civilians were killed and wounded in wars and suicide attacks in the country in the past nine years.
A new report states that 23,130 civilians were killed and 40,974 were wounded of which 52 percent were men, 18 percent were children, 7 percent women and 22 percent is unknown.
Chairperson of the commission, Sima Samar, said anti-government armed militants were responsible for 69 percent of the casualties.
The report also reveals that more than one million people were displaced due to the war in the last nine years.
“Saying 64,000 is very easy but think how many families and people were affected. A mechanism to prevent it should be looked for,” she said.
The commission says one of its concerns is that government does not address the condition of families of victims - either of security forces or civilians
“We use all our resources but addressing all those families equally is a difficult task,” said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
The report called on government to punish perpetrators of violations against human rights.
Some MPs said all citizens should be treated equally in terms of giving them their rights.
“All citizens of Afghanistan should be provided their rights equally,” said Ali Kazimi, an MP.
“The law is not implemented by any organization. It is just mere lip service,” said Simin Barikzai, an MP.
Admiring Afghan forces’ courage and bravery, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said the Afghan forces had improved, preventing the Taliban from reaching strategic goals.
Stoltenberg told a press conference in Brussels ahead of defense ministers’ meeting that: “Taliban should understand that they can gain more through a political settlement with the Afghan government than fighting against them in the battlefield.”
He said NATO was expecting the Afghan government to do more on fighting corruption, holding elections and implementing reforms in return for an increased NATO commitment.
He said NATO allies and partners were stepping up their commitments to Afghanistan --- both with forces and funding.
"We are discussing how to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020," he said, calling a political solution as the best solution for Afghanistan.
Earlier, a NATO official told Pajhwok Afghan News that the defense ministerial meeting on June 8 would discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and evaluate progress in Resolute Support mission.
The ministers would take stock of the progress made on force generation and exchange views on continued financial support from NATO allies and partners to the Afghan security forces.
According to the official, the meeting will be attended by defense ministers from all NATO allies and operational partners contributing troops to the Resolute Support mission.
Afghanistan’s minister of defense, NATO Senior Civilian Representative Ambassador Zimmermann, Resolute Support Commander Gen. John Nicholson and representatives from the UN and EU will be in attendance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken by phone with Pakistan's army chief to discuss political reconciliation in Afghanistan and other issues.
A statement released by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Pompeo and Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa discussed ways to advance US-Pakistani bilateral relations, the need for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and the importance of targeting all militant and terrorist groups in South Asia without distinction.
Pakistan hosted the first direct peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban in 2015, but they ended when Kabul announced the death of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar.
Washington has talked up the prospects for peace many times and Pakistan has said it will help to ensure its neighbor's stability.
As many as 30,000 Afghan police officers fighting a bloody war against the Taliban have been denied their modest salaries for months, officials said on Wednesday, as the American-led coalition funding the force holds back their pay out of fear that much of it is going into the hands of corrupt leaders, the New York Times reported.
According to the paper the move is seen as a punishment of sorts for the leadership of the force, which has lagged in accounting for their men and weeding out “ghost soldiers.”
Officials from the NATO coalition, which largely foots the bill for the Afghan forces — about $4 billion a year — hope the move will shock the leadership into expediting a nationwide inventory of the officers. Their identities are being verified through biometric data.
But bearing the brunt of the decision are the desperate police officers, many of them pinned down by the Taliban in faraway outposts inaccessible to the inventory teams. The officers come from the poorest communities around the country, accepting the risky job for $200 a month when there are few other prospects. Each day last year, an average of about 28 Afghan police officers and army members were killed.
For years now, donor countries have been frustrated by what are known as “ghost soldiers” — corrupt commanders and generals pocketing the salaries of men who exist only on paper.
Last year, the American-led NATO coalition withheld the salaries of tens of thousands of army soldiers, forcing the generals to expedite the biometric data registration. The army, officials say, has since improved the accounting of its soldiers.
The American military, which has increasingly limited the information it releases on the state of the Afghan forces, does not give exact figures on how many Afghan soldiers or police officers have been unaccounted-for. But the military said last year that it had saved $62.4 million in “cost avoidance” by not paying the unaccounted-for personnel.
But the police force, its leadership widely seen as extremely corrupt, has lagged behind, Afghan and Western officials say.
The depth of the problem in the Interior Ministry was revealed, once again, when two large fighting units of the Afghan police were incorporated into the army. When it came time for the transition, the numbers on paper were off by thousands from the actual number of men that could be accounted for, two senior officials said.
Mohammed Saber Sarwary, the head of finance and budget at the Afghan Interior Ministry, said the donors had cut off pay for 30,000 police officers since March. The number was confirmed by one other senior official.
“We have reached them time and again and asked them to give us access to the system to execute and process the salaries of 30,000 police who are fighting in the front lines, but they did not listen,” Mr. Sarwary said.
Donor countries put the money for the police salaries into a fund that is run by the United National Development Program. The salary freeze hit particularly hard, Mr. Sarwary said, because it is the month of Ramadan, which is followed by the festival of Eid al-Fitr.
“You know, there is a saying which goes, ‘He who feeds you can also command you,’” Mr. Sarwary said.
A spokesman for the American-led coalition directed requests for comment to the United Nations Development Program. Officials from that agency would not comment.
While the police in major cities have gone through biometric registration, reaching all of them in faraway districts has been a difficult task.
Officials in Kunduz, Zabul, Oruzgan and Farah Provinces, where there has been intense fighting, say the registration teams go to provincial centers and expect police officers from other districts to come to them. The roads are often either blocked or heavily infiltrated by the Taliban.
The UK has received the first four of the 138 F-35 Lightning stealth jets that it’s committed to purchase from the American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
The aircraft flew 3,000 miles from a US Marine Corps base in South Carolina and landed in RAF Marham their new home in Norfolk.
A fifth jet had to return to the US base after facing bad weather. Five more F-35s are expected to arrive at RAF Marham in July.
The base has undergone a £550 million reorganization program to house the new fifth-generation jets, which are worth £92 million apiece.
Once they become operational, the jets will be used by both the UK Royal Air Force and the Navy.
The Royal Navy will perform the first landing trials of the F-35s on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier this autumn.
“Once combined with our new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, these extraordinary jets will sit at the heart of our country’s globally deployable expeditionary forces,” said First Sea Lord Admiral Philip Jones.
Gavin Williamson, the British defense minister, welcomed the aircraft’s arrival two months ahead of schedule.
“The work that’s gone into their early arrival shows they have the people to match,” Williamson said.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project is the world’s most expensive weapon at over $1.3 trillion. The UK has agreed to manufacture 15 percent of every one of over 3,000 jets ordered.
London has earmarked £9.1 billion to buy 48 of the jets by 2025 and a total of 138 in the long run.
The fighter jet has been dogged by software bugs and design flaws that have led to delivery delays and budget problems.
Hundreds of people pressed ahead with protests in Jordan’s capital on Wednesday and some unions went on strike despite King Abullah replacing his prime minister to defuse public anger.
Government plans to raise taxes have sparked the largest protests in years in Jordan, a US ally that has mostly escaped years of regional turmoil.
Rallies in Amman, the capital, and other cities have brought thousands onto the streets, snowballing since unions first called a strike a week ago.
Many unions pulled out of Wednesday’s walkout, a day after the king appointed former World Bank economist Omar al-Razzaz to form a new government and urged talks over tax hikes.
Public resentment has grown since the government ended bread subsidies and hiked the general sales tax this year under a plan driven by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut Jordan’s $37 billion debt.
Jordan will ask the IMF for more time to implement reforms after the protests showed that pushing the country beyond its means risked instability, officials said.
“I pledge to hold dialogue with the various sides and work with them to reach fair a tax system,” tweeted Harvard-educated Razzaz, who was education minister in the outgoing cabinet.
He will now begin consultations to form a new government after Hani Mulki resigned as prime minister.
Still, on Wednesday, more than 1,000 protesters demonstrated well beyond midnight, waving flags and shouting, “Bread, freedom, social justice.”
Several people fainted, and police said that a man who stabbed an officer had been taken into custody.
Security forces appeared to detain some demonstrators and blocked roads to stop the protesters from reaching the nearby Cabinet office.
“We still have many more demands that have not been fulfilled,” Saleh Shouha, 22, told Reuters as others chanted against the government’s economic policies and sang, “The people want to bring down the parliament.”
“We will stay in the street until all our demands are met. We want justice, dignity and bread,” the university student said.
Shops and pharmacies shut down for a few hours on Wednesday, hanging signs that said, “I’m taking part in the strike” but life in the capital mostly went on as usual.
Unions of doctors, engineers, and lawyers mainly took part in the walkout, which drew smaller crowds than previous demonstrations. Hundreds of people holding flags and picket signs converged outside the headquarters of the Professional Unions Association, demanding an end to the planned income tax law.
“We will give the government a chance once it is formed, after that we will decide our next steps,” union leader Ali al-Abous told Reuters.
Widely seen as a unifying force, the king has said the new cabinet must review the entire tax system and hold dialogue over the bill with political parties, unions and civil society.
The government has said it needs funds for public services and it has argued that reforms would reduce social disparities.
In his letter designating Razzaz, King Abullah said price hikes had burdened Jordanians. He called for better services and blamed regional instability for the sluggish economy.
His comments indicated the new government could shelve the draft tax law, which it sent to parliament last month, and slow the pace of price rises.
Lawmakers were on course to ask the king’s permission for an early exceptional session, with a majority demanding the withdrawal of the tax law, the speaker has said.
Officials noted that Razzazz had been an opponent of reforms that hurt the poor, and said his appointment conveyed to foreign donors that Jordan would press ahead with reforms, though in a gradual way.