Reforms are underway at MFA, says Sediqqi

On October 24, 2019, the acting minister of foreign affairs, Sallahuddin Rabbani resigned. “After five years of service as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have resigned from my position. The continued process of state institutions being damaged, undermined and pushed aside in various ways was no longer tolerable. I’ll continue to work for and remain in the service of our people,” Mr. Rabbani tweeted hours after his resignation. In his resignation letter, he wrote the Afghan presidential palace created ‘parallel structure’ under the pretext of administrative reform at the ministry of foreign affairs.  

Following Rabbani’s resignation, President Ghani met with deputy foreign ministers including Idress Zaman who now works as caretaker minister at the ministry of foreign affairs. Ghani appointed Zaman as caretaker minster and vowed to bring reform. Mr. Zaman is close to President Ghani.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, October 03, spokesperson for President Ghani, Sediq Sediqqi, said fundamental reforms are underway in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). He added that the MFA, in line with the policy of the Afghan government, needs to become more proactive and focused on new initiatives.

The National Unity Government (NUG), formed as a result of a political deal brokered by the then US secretary of state, John Kerry, marked the beginning of new internal rifts inside the Afghan government. With President Ghani seating on the driving seat, he slowly sidelined the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs then led by Sallahuddin Rabbani, a political figure who came from the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s camp.

Rabbani, who was an ardent supporter of Chief Executive Abdullah—Ghani’s main rival in 2014 presidential election—started his tenure as foreign minister in 2015 and continued to work in this post despite political rifts between Ghani and Abdullah.

In September 2019, following a report by the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), Afghan President Ghani tasked an audit board to assess the ministry, but Rabbani refused to allow the board to assess the allegations of corruption charged against the ministry.

MEC claimed that recruitment process at the ministry was not transparent and as many as 44 percent of the employees were appointed without being tested. Mr. Rabbani rejected the claim, calling baseless and politically motivated.       

The newly appointed spokesperson for the MFA, Gran Hewad told Kabul Now that fundamental reforms are underway at the ministry.

Mr. Sediqqi says the ministry will downsize the number of its staffers in Afghan consulates aiming to reduce expense.

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