April, 2005

About the new law of NGO activities in Afghanistan

Kabul International Development Forum
Dated: April ,14-16, 2005

From: Agence France Presse
Afghanistan to approve new law for aid agencies

Afghanistan has drafted laws aimed at controlling aid agencies, officials said Friday, raising concerns among some organisations that it could limit their efforts to rebuild the shattered country.

The move follows a government probe into the activities of some non- governmental organisations (NGOs) and amid the perception amongst many Afghans that the groups are squandering international aid money.

Economy minister Mir Mohammad Amin Farhang said a new law has been drafted under which his administration would control the activities of thousands of NGOs.

President Hamid Karzai's spokesman Khaliq Ahmad said the law was likely to be approved within a few weeks. "The law has been drafted and approved by the cabinet, but needs the approval of the president," Ahmad said.

However it has already prompted speculation among humanitarian groups, with some saying the law would affect their activities.

"Under this law NGOs would not be allowed to receive government contracts," Paul Barker, country director of US-based Care, told AFP.

"So it would prohibit NGOs from being involved in a wide range of activities in the country."

Another western NGO official said on condition of anonymity: "This law is providing tools for the regulation of NGOs. But it brings a lot of restriction, and it's pretty negative for the NGO community."

Afghan planning minister Ramazan Bachardoust quit in protest last year after his proposal to dissolve more than 2,000 NGOs was heavily criticised by his own government.

A conference of major donors is set to begin next week in Kabul with the aim of dispensing billions of dollars worth of pledges to the country."