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Afghan Godfather, his Gangsters and the US Aid Cutoff during Covid-19 Crisis

Mohammad Amin Wahidi
Sunday 5 April 2020

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Despite real danger of Covid-19 for the health of millions of citizens of Afghanistan, the populist leader of the Afghan Cabinet tries to stop breach of any news and real information to the media regarding their deficiency with the campaign against Coronavirus.

Prominent Hazara educationalist, founder and CEO of Star Educational Society, Ali Reza Yasa wrote on his social media page that he’s lost a family member who couldn’t get the services of Covid-19 special hospital in Herat city due to racism and systematic discriminations against Hazaras in that province.

Just a few days ago, unconfirmed news circulated in the social media that two physicians were fired from their jobs one in Kabul and one Herat after they complained from the shortage of facilities and the insufficiency of the resources to combat Covid-19 in Afghanistan, despite Afghan Government’s wrong information circulation that assures everything is under control.

These days, Ashraf Ghani appointed Dawood Sultanzoy a famous former plane-hijacker as the Mayor of Kabul, an appointment that is against the article 141 of the Constitution that clearly states that “the mayors and city council members are elected through general free, secret and direct elections.”

One of Afghan Governments that is led by Ashraf Ghani (the other parallel government is led by his rival Abdullah Abdullah who claims to be the legitimate winner president) as a result of election dispute, tries to manipulate the information flow and uses it as much as possible for the favor of its power and legitimacy, while on the other hand, the other proclaiming president Abdullah Abdullah does not have enough resources and budget to make his independent parallel government begin functioning, so that to finish the electoral dispute here.
Their dispute on the result of election has brought reluctance of the International Community to the Afghan issues; especially the USA is not anymore interested to Afghanistan as it was in the last 19 years as the main aid provider and supporter of this country since 2001.

As announced by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo after his recent visit to Kabul, there will be a 1.B$USD One Billion Dollars cutoff from the US aid to Afghanistan during this year, as the USA is not happy with the political ongoing in Afghanistan, however it may not have any direct effects on the lives of millions of citizens of Afghanistan as long as the corrupt system in governance of Afghanistan is not very transparent an responsible for the foreign aid expenditure.

The current Afghan Regime is consisting of a bunch of corrupt incumbents most of whom are occupying their positions not for the expertise they own but for their relationship with Ashraf Ghani who is considered as the Afghan Godfather of the country. The people surrounding the Godfather Ashraf Ghani are not technically the most capable ones in the country but they are good at making fifty-fifty deals in mega embezzlements with the Godfather engaging some corrupt international counterparts in the ambiguity of disarray and lack of transparency in Afghanistan. At least 60 percent of the amount could go into the pockets of Afghan Ministers who invest their money in offshore companies in UAE or in property markets in Turkey.

As reported by the prominent daily newspaper in Afghanistan, Etilaatroz.com there is another easy way of embezzlement by the Godfather, from the national budget that is the Code 91 Fund, a special Emergency Fund allocated to the head of Executive Branch, spent only by the President’s decrees in the time of need. The findings of EtilaatRoz showed that the Code91 Fund was spent with millions of embezzlements at least 22mln$USD only in 2019.

Most of these office holders in the current government hold dual citizenships (an Afghan) and at least one from a Western country, for the day of their escape after they are done enough with project embezzlements, and then they easily leave the country. One of the recent examples was Eklil Ahmad Hakimi a Pashtun former Minister of Finance who fled from Afghanistan to the USA in 2018 with an American passport, after he wasn’t able to respond the accountability of millions of dollars disappeared from his ministry and the accusations against him rose during the trial of Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology who was actually guiltless. Eklil Hakimi as the Minister of Finance was responsible of accountability of ATRA (Afghan Telecom Regulatory Authority) that collected 10% Tax on mobile credits (that was mounted an amount of circa 105 million $USD in two years period from 2015-2017 but was disappeared in un unknown destination.

Right now there are six to seven former ministers who are accused of mega-embezzlements but they are not only immune to being trialed but also being generously rewarded with key positions in the government because they are praised and caressed by the Godfather Ashraf Ghani who need them in his business.
For instance, Farooq Wardak, another former minister who is accused of embezzlement of at least $USD 750,000,000 (seven hundred and fifty million dollars) for the famous ghost schools he’d created in Afghanistan during his time as the Minister of Education 2008-2015.

Despite his multi-million dollar embezzlement, Farooq Wardak not only was not trialed for corruption but also has been recently appointed as the Afghan Ambassador to Turkey as reported by the national media.

The other famous Afghan ex-minister is Omar Zakhilwal, who holds a dual citizenship (Afghan-Canadian) the former Minister of Finance is accused ofat least 40 million $USD embezzlement from the funds of International Aid to Afghanistan when he was President of AISA (Afghanistan Investment Support Agency) and had a link with Kabul Bank Scandal, when he was Minister of Finance in 2009. Currently he is the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan under Ghani Administration.

Hanif Atmar another former minister who served in different ministries is accused embezzlements from the scandalous Kabul Bank in the early years and then he was accused of creation of an ISIS-like group within the Intelligence Services of Afghanistan to hit the Taliban and the political opponents of Ghani through mysterious explosions.

Populism, nepotism, family-business and propaganda are the main pillars of this kind of regime.
The Godfather is at the top of executive power and controls the whole system and all others are his hand-kissers or followers each of who does their best to have a fair share of this business; it is seen in the structure of the NPA or the National Procurement Agency that controls all public purchases and contracts and chaired by the Godfather- Ashraf Ghani himself.

With a little research in the family relationship of who-is-who in the current Afghan cabinet, you find that most areclose family relatives and they are even known to the Afghans as the Brother-in-Laws in power. Taking everything in strict control by the Godfather prevents the oversight and transparency in the information outreach to the public regarding the public expenditure and national budgets.

The NPA or (National Procurement Agency) is considered as the chamber of the family business, with a lot of contracts each with values of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars given to their relatives and acquaintances such as relative ministers, and even the Afghan-Lebanese First Lady, Rula Ghani is accused of hundreds of millions of dollars embezzlements under the Women Supporting Projects.

The reconstruction companies that get the contracts of the Afghan Monuments Reconstructions as well as new structures such as Afghan Ministry of Defense new building, are mostly related to the Lebanese First Lady but the notices do not reach the English or other language media because they are being systematically censored in Afghanistan. Who investigates about these mega-embezzlements is being summoned to the Attorney General’s office under accusation of finking into state affairs.

The Godfather’s propaganda is focused on constructing the image of a National Hero out of himself to hide his other side of the medal. Ghani’s reconstruction of some of old buildings which he considers them symbol of greatness of Afghanistan is a part of the propaganda which in reality does not help the betterment of conditions of lives of millions of needy people who live below poverty line.

Apart from nepotism in public recruitments, sexism is the other vulnerability of the Godfather Ashraf Ghani’s regime. Most women, who want to get a job in pubic offices, face sex requests in exchange to being hired. This is very known regulation even in the Arg or the Godfather’s Palace that is likely to become a Harem, and a lot of women are being hired there with sexual favors they had to undergo.
The saddest and the worst part of sexism in Ashraf Ghani’s regime is taking place in the Ministry of Disabled and the Martyred where the widowers of the Afghan Army refer to get their lost’s monthly wage as a life-compensation but they are faced with sex request and sexual harassments by the office incumbents of the ministry.
With all dimensions of existing corruption in Afghanistan, any kind of foreign aid is just a drop in a barrel and nothing could directly reach to the poor and needy population as long as the Godfather holds the power. In addition to the Godzilla of corruption, Coronavirus is yet another fatal challenge to overcome in a corrupt Afghanistan where over seventy percent of the population lives under poverty line and most of the politicians have their families resettled abroad in the islands of safety including Godfather’s.
Only God knows what could happen to the Afghanistani people.



Filmmaker and blogger from Italy

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