Afghanistan Closes Hundreds Of NGOs

world | Jan 20, 2012 | By RFE/RL 

A top Afghan official says hundreds of local and foreign NGOs have been shut down for violating the law.

Economy Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that 600 Afghan and 195 foreign NGOs were closed on January 18 because they failed to send biannual reports to the Economy Ministry detailing their activities, progress, and budgets, which is required by law.

“These NGOs either didn’t send us their work reports or committed other violations," he said. "If NGOs don’t send us their reports every six months and if we continue not to receive them for two years, these NGOs are considered to be inactive.”

Arghandiwal added that all NGOs operating inside Afghanistan must have a license and working permit from the Economy Ministry, which regulates all their activities.

The Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR), which works with aid agencies and international donors to coordinate humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, welcomed the decision.

Mohammed Hashim Mayar, an advisor to ACBAR, claimed the closed NGOs -- whose identities have yet to be revealed -- were ineffective and their closures would have no adverse effects in Afghanistan.

“These NGOs were closed according to the law," he said. "They were small and had no effective activities. They registered themselves so they could get money from donors. Once they couldn’t get funding they couldn’t function. [Their liquidation] will neither affect the Afghan people nor the government. Their liquidation will not have any impact.”

Calls For Closer Monitoring

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, hundreds of NGOs have begun working in Afghanistan on various projects funded by international donors. But according to the Economy Ministry, some 1,715 Afghan and 301 foreign NGOs have been liquidated for breaking the law since that time. 

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, hundreds of NGOs have begun working in south-Asian country on various projects funded by international donors.

Nonetheless, according to the Economy Ministry, 1,715 Afghan and 301 foreign NGOs have been liquidated for breaking the law since that time. 

A number of NGOs in Afghanistan have come under criticism for being ineffective, wasting resources, and implementing substandard projects.

There have been persistent calls for their funding and activities to be closely monitored to limit corruption and to redirect resources to key areas such as infrastructure.

Written by Frud Bezhan based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

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