27 November 2012 Page 2
passed only by insecurity (28%) and closely followed by corruption (25%). Andrew Wilder, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan pro-grammes at the United States Institute of Peace, told
: “We’ll see a sharp reduction in foreign aid as troops decrease, so we’ll see adrop in those sectors as well. If I were an Afghan, I’d be concerned about jobs moving forward.”A number of articles regarding Kabul Bank, Afghanistan’s embattled lender, also em
The New York Times
reported that the trialof more than twenty people involved in the Kabul Bank crisis began in Kabul on 14 November. Defendant
s include the bank’s former
chairman, Sherkhan Farnood, and its former chief executive, Khalilluah Frozi, both of whom testified early in the trial. Farnood andFrozi both reportedly attempted to place the majority of the blame on the other for the loss of USD 900 million from Kabul Bank. Ac-cording to
stan’s First Vice Pr
esident; Far-nood says that Fahim took USD 178 million from the bank. Meanwhile, Frozi implicated Mahmoud Karzai, a partial owner of thebank and a brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The New York Times
noted that the outcomes of the Kabul Bank trial may have
lasting implications for foreign donors’ willingness to finance the Afghan government. A number of representatives of the int
ernation-al community told
The New York Times
that donors may withhold funding for the Afghan government in the years ahead if the trial isnot perceived as credible and if key figures in the banking scandal are not held accountable. One un-
named official stated: “This is
absolutely one of the two or three big-picture issues in Afghanistan today, along with the security and civilian transition. If this pro-
cess is not credible, it puts into question a lot of the international commitments made to Afghanistan going forward.”
In closely related news, Noorullah Delawari, the head of Afghanistan’s Central Bank, says that New Kabul Ba
which was estab-
lished to oversee some of Kabul Banks’s remaining assets and functions –
. “Myself and the head of the Finance Ministry’s Treasury department went to Dubai to seek foreign interest in NewKabul Bank. We provided all sort of information and conditions to officials in Dubai,” Delawari told reporters. New Kabul Ban
k isfully owned by the Afghan government after Kabul Bank was placed in receivership in 2010 following a massive government bailoutvalued at around USD 850 million.A number of other economic development issues, which are summarised below, emerged during the past two weeks.
Some in Afghanistan are concerned that US sanctions against Iran could imperil
,much of which comesfrom Iran, according to
. Afghan Deputy Commerce Minister Muzamel Shinwari stated: “Now when the fuel is comingunder the sanctions, it is creating a bigger problem for us […] And if we stop bringing it from Iran, it will create an econo
mic cri-sis in the co
untry, which will lead to the political crisis, which will lead to unrest in the region.”
A consortium of companies led by the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is hoping to win the rights to the Shaida deposit in Af-ghanistan, which is estimated to contain 4.34 million tonnes of copper,according to
. The consortium says that theyhave received positive feedback from Afghan officials. The winning bidder will reportedly be announced by March 2013.
The United Nations organised a conference in Mazar-e Sharif on improving trade linkages between Afghanistan and the Central
Asian republics, according to
. Participants proposed the creation of a trade centre in northern Afghanistan which wouldfocus on linkages with Central Asia. Balkh
province’s governor, Atta Mohammad Noor, said that Balkh would be an ideal loc
a-tion for such a centre.
Officials with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAI
that saffron is replacing opi-um poppies in some parts of Nangarhar province. MAIL recently implemented a pilot saffron cultivation project in fourteen dis-
tricts in Nangarhar. Farmers reportedly stand to earn USD 1,200 per acre of saffron as opposed to only USD 400 per acre of opi-um poppies.
, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience in Singapore that the US government is “focused
,because we know that, without that, stability and security will certainly be elusive”.
Clinton stated that regional economic cooperation and the re-establishment of the ancient Silk Road are key parts of the US gov-
ernment’s economic development
efforts in Afghanistan and its region.
Governance & Rule of Law
Deputy Minister of Hajj Daee-ul-Haq Abed has told a gathering of lawmakers and members of civil society thatsome parts of Afghanistan
s Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law are not in accordance with Islamic law
and will therefore not be enforced by religious leaders and clerics, reports
. Abed did not elaborate on what particu-lar parts of the law go against Islam but his comments drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, who threatened the ministry with legalaction if the law was not enforced. The EVAW law was enacted in 2009 but its enforcement and implementation were noted to beweak at best. This comes as the Afghanistan Independent Research Commission reported that violence against women increased by 28per cent during the first seven months of this year, states
.A number of Afghan lawmakers have put together a draft law specifically aimed at outlining punishments for those found guilty of
child rape, says
. Lawmakers have also called on justice institutions to apply
law to those who are convicted of rap-ing children, adding that the only solution to bring down the climbing rate of reported child rapes is to enforce the law and instil harshpenalties. This comes as UN officials expressed concern about the increasing incidence of child abuse in northern Afghanistan.