A Year Journey of NUG: Economy, Corruption and Foreign Policy

Increasing obstacles against peace and stability, promoting war and internal disputes in the government are not the only problems of the national unity government (NUG) that have disappointed Afghans, but, overall, the government is failed in every field. According to surveys of some media groups[1], absolute majority of Afghans are dissatisfied with one year performance of NUG.

The government has faced a lot of challenges in the past one year, and perhaps this situation would continue for the next year, also. The next year would clear the fate of the government because the survival of this government in these conditions seems impossible.

Economic Situation

With the establishment of present government, the rate of unemployment increased[2] and Afghani incomparably depreciated for the first time in 14 years[3]. Meanwhile, investment and other major economic projects are impacted by insecurity and yet to be started.

However, NUG was able to increase the revenue of the government by 10% in the last one year, but, the increasing revenue would cover only 28% of the operating budget and 54% of the core development budget and the remaining of the budget would be provided by the international community. [4]

Besides that, the government deducts 10% as a tax from mobile networks in order to increase government’s revenue. The international donors were requesting the Afghan government to increase its domestic revenue and the Afghan government has also recognized that international donors has more focus now on Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and refugees in Europe and therefore mostly their funds would be transferred to those areas.

A few months ago, the government increased tax on shops in Kabul; however, the shop keeper protested against this decision and closed their shops. After this experience, the government, by deducting 10% as a tax from mobile networks, followed a policy which was not provoking the people and meanwhile increasing the revenue of the government.

The exports of Afghanistan have increased by 61% in the first quarter of 1394; the main reason is increase in the prices of licorices in the international market. The other reason behind increase in Afghan exports is that the amount of rain in Afghanistan became higher in the past few years and so the agricultural product is increased. The main reason behind the lack of imports in the current year is deflation. If the rate of unemployment decreases and economic growth increases, the rate of imports would be increased, also. The achievement in the trade is not because of the policies of the government, but, it is because of the international market and internal situation in Afghanistan.

Briefly, the government of Afghanistan has not brought any change in the life of its people, but, according to a survey, unlike its promises during elections, it impacted the life of the people negatively. [5]


The London Conference on Afghanistan took place on 4 December 2014 and President Ghani presented his article on Economic Reform in it. Struggles against corruption were mentioned in it, also. The government claimed that in order for tackling corruption, it would take the following steps:

  • Formation of an “independent anti-corruption mission with time-bound prosecution powers;
  • The “reform of the Supreme Audit Agency”;
  • The formation of a “national procurement board” that will manage all large-value contracts;
  • Providing the Supreme Court with the resources needed to implement its
    comprehensive reform program that will ensure that judges are appropriately compensated,
    protected, and held to high standard of professional behavior;
  • instituting a requirement for all government officials to provide public declarations
    of their assets;
  • We will introduce mobile banking services, which have been proven to reduce opportunities
    for leakages;
  • Reviewing the present laws and procedures that cause corruption;
  • Reforming the electoral system;
  • Reforming the Judiciary;
  • And others. [6]

However, neither an independent anti-corruption mission is established nor the reforms are brought in any field yet. The only achievement the government has in tackling corruption is reopening the Kabul Bank case. The Finance Minister in SOM Confrere told that 228 million dollars are received from debtors yet.

Besides that, the government put travel ban on officials involved in Kabul Bank corruption case including former Kabul Mayors, 22 senior officials of the Housing and Urban Development Ministry, 150 debtors of Kabul Bank and some other officials.

Meanwhile, the files of alleged officials of the Housing and Urban Development Ministry involved in corruption reviewed and transferred to the Supreme Court, also. No step other than mentioned taken in tackling corruption yet and the rate of corruption is remaining as high as it was in the past.

Migration and Fleeing out of Country

A large number of Afghans are refugees in Pakistan and Iran. Some of the events in both countries[7] impacted Afghan refugees and caused thousands of Afghans to return to their countries in 2015. According to the IMO, between June 1 and June 30 of 2015, 137803 unregistered Afghan refugees repatriated to Afghanistan through Islam Qala and Milak ports, 89561 through Torkham and 9949 through Speen Boldak.

The issue of unregistered Afghan refugees was solved as a result of several visits of the Minister of Refugees and Repatriation to neighboring countries. Senior officials of both countries promised that they are going to register the unregistered Afghan refugees soon. Besides that, the Stay of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan is also extended for two more years.

The best performance of NUG in the past year was in the field of refugees; however, the policy and strategy of Afghan refugees are yet to be specified in the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation. The government was supposed to have a clear policy on Afghan refugees in neighboring countries. The problem of Afghan refugees cannot be solved with extending their stay. The government should have a decisive, clear and specific policy on this regard that when it is ready to repatriate Afghan refugees.

The migration of Afghans to Europe increased in the last three years. According to a survey, 26215 Afghans have requested for asylum in 2013, this number increased by 41370 in 2014.[8]According to UNHCR, almost 80 thousands Afghans have migrated to Europe in the first 8 months of 2015. According to the Afghan Ministry of Refugees Affairs, 60 thousands Afghans are leaving the country every month[9] and according to a research report by German newspaper, nearly one hundred thousand Afghans are fleeing Afghanistan every month. [10]

The reasons behind fleeing from the country in the first year of NUG are as follows:

  • Insecurity and War
  • Unemployment
  • Easy Acceptance Conditions in some European Countries[11]

Fleeing of educated and young class of Afghanistan in such a large number will negatively impact the country in the upcoming years.

Foreign Policy

Important decisions made on NUG’s foreign policy and profound change is being seen in this policy compare to Hamid Karzai’s second term’s foreign policy.

NUG made the following decisions in foreign policy in its first year:

  • Security agreements was signed with America and NATO within the 24 hours of the establishment of NUG;
  • Relations with Pakistan reached to its peak level in the past 14 years;
  • Ashraf Ghani had his first official visit to China and increased the focus of his foreign policy towards China;
  • China and Pakistan became involved in peace process;
  • The Afghan government, for the first time, tried to become closer to Saudi Arabia. Ashraf Ghani went there for performing an Umrah and met Saudi Officials and then issued a statement on supporting Saudi in the issue of Yemen;
  • Relations with India became colder and even India has not responded to the request of Afghanistan on signing a strategic treaty in order to continue their cooperation under its banner.

The Mis-Calculated Foreign Policy

The government had made incorrect calculation about its foreign policy on its first year. It signed the security agreement with America and NATO in order to bring security and stability in the country, however, neither security and nor the stability is established in the country. Meanwhile, the fighting is intensified, the war is taken to the North of the country, the districts are collapsing gradually and eventually the Kunduz province will also collapse.

The government provided Pakistan with a lot of privileges as like as it had done in the past years and even slackened its relations with India in order to decrease the concerns of Pakistan. Kabul did all these with the motive that Pakistan will make Taliban to have peaceful talks with the Afghan government, for peace to become provided in Afghanistan and for war to become to an end; unfortunately, the estimation of the government was incorrect; because neither the peace and nor the security is established, moreover, the country is going day by day towards instability and insecurity, the faded peace process is fully stopped and the relations with Pakistan went worse once again.

The Afghan government supported Saudi Arabia as a result of incorrect political calculations in order to have Saudi to cooperate in the peace process and the economic field and provided about a hundred thousand Afghan workers with visas; however, Saudi Arabia has not provided Afghanistan with a touchable aid in the last six months.

The End

[1] See Online:



[2] Head of the National Workers Union said that now; almost 13 million people are unemployed or underemployed. (For more information: see 131st issue of Weekly Analysis)

[3] One US Dollar was equivalent to 48 Afghanis in January 2005. The value of Afghani got better (56.33) in the beginning of 2014; on January 2015, the value of Afghani against USD was 60.1 and now (on August 27th) it values 65.16. (For more information: see 131st issue of Weekly Analysis)

[4] Above sources.

[5] : See Online http://www.tolonews.com/TOLOnews_photo/pdf/TOLOnews_4th_NUG_approval_rating_August_2015.pdf

[6] Realizing Self-Reliance: Commitments to Reforms and Renewed Partnership (Draft Paper of Ashraf Ghani to be presented in London Conference)

[7] For example, Pakistan entered the issue of Afghan refugees in the anti-terrorism policy and took a hard position against them after an attack on a military school in Peshawar that caused sons of military officers to be killed.

Meanwhile, hard step took against unregistered Afghan refugees in Iran. It sent some of them to Syria, imprisoned a number and deported another to Afghanistan. The reason behind Iran’s hard position would be establishing a declaration by the Afghan government that was supporting Saudi Arabia in the case of Yemen.

[8] See online:< http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Countries_of_origin_of_(nonEU)_asylum_seekers_in_the_EU-28_Member_States,_2013_and_2014_YB15_III.png>

[9] Weesa Daily, 10th Year Issue 98th, Monday 2015, September 28th.

[10] See online:<http://www.dw.com/ps/%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%87-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AA-%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%BA%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%85%D8%AE%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%84-%D8%B2%D8%B1%D9%87-%DA%A9%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88%DA%81%D9%8A/a-18744037

[11]130th issue of Weekly Analysis, CSRS

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