Iran accused of paying Afghan MPs
KABUL (PAN): Some Wolesi Jirga members and a government official on Monday confirmed a meeting between Iranian officials and some MPs on how to block the approval of a strategic agreement with the US in Afghan parliament.
President Hamid Karzai and his American counterpart Barack Obama signed the agreement on May 1 in Kabul. Foreign affairs commissions of the two houses had ratified the agreement, which will be sent to the lower house for approval in near future.
After being approved by the Wolesi Jirga, the document will be sent to the Meshrano Jirga -- or upper house -- for approval.
MP Arian Yun, a representative from Nangarhar, believed the MPs who had won the election with the help of Iran were likely to work for promoting the neighbouring country’s interests.
Without naming any MP, she said: "The Iranian embassy financially supports these lawmakers in return for rejecting the accord." However, she did not give a specific number for the pro-Iran legislators.
Another parliamentarian from southeastern Khost, Kamal Nasar Asoli, also confirmed Yun’s claims. "When we will discuss the agreement, we will expose them to the media. A discussion on the pact is ongoing among commissions of the lower house,” he said.
Wolesi Jirga’s foreign affairs commission head Daud Kalakani, though confirmed the claims, said national interests should be more important for parliamentarians.
A government official, who did not want to be named, said that embassies of Iran and Pakistan had invited parliamentarians of both houses ahead of approving the strategic agreement.
Despite efforts, this scribe was unable to contact the Pakistani and Iranian embassies for comments about the claims of MPs. The claims came days after Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan requested parliamentarians to reject the strategic deal.
Early this month, ambassador Abul Fazal Zuhrawand asked the upper house to reject the recently-signed strategic deal between Kabul and Washington, a demand strongly denounced by Afghan lawmakers.
Parliamentarians said the diplomat’s statements amounted to a clear interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
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