Afghanistan facing economic challenges: Tanin
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): As its takes steps to overcome security threats, Afghanistan faces immediate economic challenges, including a looming fiscal crisis, the UN Security Council were informed on Thursday.
“The protracted election process triggered uncertainty and negatively impacted revenue collection, donor confidence and economic growth, making it difficult for the government to mobilise adequate revenue to meet its financing priorities,” the Afghan ambassador said.
Zahir Tanin told the UN Security Council during a discussion on Afghanistan: “We call on our international partners to fulfill their commitments so that the government can close the long-running fiscal gap and deliver on its reform promises.”
He added the people and leadership of Afghanistan were confident that the country was moving in a positive direction, but the challenges it face were formidable.
Insecurity remained the main impediment to progress across the country, he admitted. In the past several months, terrorists and insurgent groups intensified attacks to bust confidence in the new government and intimidate the people.
Extremist groups should know the Afghan security forces were ready to fight for the future of Afghan democracy, peace and security, he stressed. Their resilience, particularly during the election period, demonstrates their commitment to protecting the lives of Afghans.
Tanin said the government of national unity had devised a comprehensive reform agenda aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term challenges and at enabling the country to make progress toward self-reliance, sustainable growth, peace and stability.
A top UN official encouraged the government to appoint a merit-based Cabinet. “I have been greatly encouraged by the peaceful political transition,” said Nicholas Haysom, special representative of the secretary-general.
Political leaders, he said, must conclude the appointment and approval of senior officials. A politically representative, merit-based cabinet could boost confidence in the government, he added.
US Ambassador, Samantha Power said the Afghan government had taken crucial steps to end the year on a positive note, with its reform agenda including the reopening of the Kabul Bank investigation, removal of corrupt personnel and tackling illicit trade.
The United States looked forward to the naming of a new cabinet, based on merit, the envoy said. President Ashraf Ghani had worked to improve Afghanistan’s relations with its neighbours, including Pakistan, she noted.
Sahibzada Ahmed Khan of Pakistan said the new Afghan leadership and his country were pursuing initiatives to strengthen regional coordination. Terrorism, he stressed, was a common enemy that must be fought by common endeavors.
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