Nepotism detected in appointing diplomats
KABUL (Pajhwok): Most of diplomats the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has appointed are family members and relatives of government officials and lawmakers and their appointments appeared to be based on nepotism and against rules and merit, a Pajhwok’s findings indicate.
Sons and other close relatives of government officials and members of parliament have been appointed to key posts in Afghanistan’s embassies abroad, where a number of embassy staff have sought political asylum.
A government official on Monday told Pajhwok Afghan News 40 diplomats, including nearly a dozen ambassadors, have been asked to step down.
Article 60 of the ministry’s employment law makes mandatory BA degree, especially in law, political science, business administration, journalism, economics and commerce for diplomats.
During the time of their hiring, diplomats should be at least 21 and maximum 35 years old (the 35 years old should have MA or PHD degree) and should not be on the ministry’s blacklist.
They should be fluent in both Dari and Pashto languages, having scored at least 450 TOEFL marks or in other equal tests and should be able to operate computer and other new technology tools.
They should not be morally corrupt and addicted to drugs and having passed with distinction the ministry’s entry test to become an employee.
From written test, interview and security clearance to keeping junior diplomats under a probation period all are considered in their recruitment process.
But these rules were not followed during former president Karzai’s 13 years rule when sons of his two deputies and close relatives of high-ranking government officials, MPs and ex-jihadi leaders held government posts without going through any competitive test or legal process.
Adib Fahim, the eldest son of late Vice-president Mohammad Qasim Fahim, was deputy head of the regional economic cooperation department at the foreign ministry.
In 2013, he was appointed as head of the ministry’s second political division that deals with Middle East countries in Asia, Iran, Turkey and all countries located in Africa Continent. However, Adib resigned from the post after his father’s demise in 2014.
But Taqi Khalili, elder son of Karim Khalili, the second former vice president is a diplomat at the MoFA for over 13 years. He has also served as first deputy of the Afghan ambassador in the US and the deputy of the permanent representative of Afghanistan at UN.
Since the formation of the unity government, he is serving as Afghan ambassador to Azerbaijan without going through legal process of working for three years in MoFA.
Availing the opportunity in the United States, he sent all his family members via embassy resources in Washington to Canada where they were given citizenship.
According to credible sources, most employees especially the MoFA diplomats are sons and close relatives of government officials and they have been appointed without conducting entry tests or going through needed legal process.
The following persons are among those working in MoFA without going through test, interview and other official formalities:
Son of Mohammad Younus Qanoni, former Wolesi Jirga speaker and first vice president.
Son of Omar Daudzai, former interior minister.
Son of MP Daud Kalakani.
Daughter of MP Rahela.
Son of Zahir Azimi, spokesman of Ministry of Defense.
Brother of MP Hamida Ahmadzai.
Son of former MP Sayed Hussain Anwari.
Brother of Anwarulhaq Ahadi, former trade and industry minister.
Brother of Farooq Wardak’, former education minister.
Son of Qayamuddin Kashaf, head of Afghanistan’s Ulama Council.
Daughter and son of Muhaiuddin Sahibzada, MoFA administrative affairs head( Hamid Sahebzada deputy legal advisor and Shogufa Sahebzada working at Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations, New York.)
Son of MP Mohammad Abdu.
Son of MP Qudratullah Zaki.
Daughter of MP Nazifa Zaki.
Nephew of Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, Jihadi leader and former MP.
Daughter and son of Noor Akbar, former MP.
Husband of MP Nilofar Ibrahimi.
Sister of MP Fouzia Raofi.
Brother of MP Aryan Youn.
Daughter of Amena Afzali, former labor and social affair minister.
Son of Mohammad Eshaq Alko, Attorney General.
Two daughters of Torialai Weesa, Kandahar’s acting governor.
Another source revealed a number of other officials, whose relatives work in MoFA are as under.
Son of former Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbil’s secretary is in Istanbul, Turkey.
Brother of Wolesi Jirga speaker is in New Delhi, India.
Husband of MP Nilofar Ibrahimi in Australia.
Brother of MP Nangialai and brother of Nangarhar police chief in Canada.
Abdul Salam, nephew of NDS official Eng. Ibrahim in Moscow.
Ahmad Shah Abdali, brother of Afghan ambassador to India in Istanbul.
Majid Karzai, nephew of former President Hamid Karzai.
Zabihullah Mujadidi, son of former President Sibghatullah Mujaddadi is ambassador in UAE.
Son of former Jihadi leader Gilani was ambassador in Jordon.
Nephew of MP Nijrabi in Dubai.
Son of former general director of administrative affairs of the presidential palace Sadeq Modabir in Dubai.
Aneesa Akbari, daughter of Noor Akbari in New York.
Farid Bahmand, father-in-law of Jawed Ludin in Canada.
Daughter of Habiba Sadat is working in an embassy without having graduation documents.
Son of General Jurat in MoFA.
Brother of former first lady Zeenat Karzai Yama Quraishi in Washington.
Humayun Kamgar brother in law of Dr. Spanta.
Brother of MP Hazrat Ali in Dubai.
Son of Ismail Khan.
Son of Dr. Mushahid.
Grand son of former King Zahir shah in Italy since more than a decade.
Son of former governor of Logar.
Brother of former Khost governor Abdul Jabar Naeemi in Belgium.
The source added most of the aforementioned individuals have forced their way to get key posts in MoFA have been appointed by former foreign affairs Minister Zarar Ahmad Usmani by trampling all rules and regulations.
Manizha Bakhtary is ambassador in Norway since five years.
Zahir Tanin is permanent representative of Afghanistan to UN since a decade.
Nangialai Tarzi is in Geneva since 13 years.
Azizullah Karzai is ambassador in Moscow since five years.
Khalili is in Spain since 14 years.
Asad Omar is in France since five years.
Jaihoon was in Australia for four years and is in Turkey since four years.
Dr. Fatimi is ambassador to Japan since four years.
Apart from the list above, there are a number of other close relatives and cronies of the former as well as sitting officials and parliamentarians that have been hired in MoFA without considering merits or even appearing for the entrance exams.
According to sources, Farid Kazemi who was previously personal assistant to the secretariat of the lower house of parliament and Mujtaba a former employee of the office of the administrative affairs have been employed trampling all rules and regulations.
Abdul Qader Zazai, head of the international affairs committee of the Wolesi Jirga, told Pajhwok Afghan News one of the reasons that Afghanistan’s diplomacy was ineffective and useless during the past 13 years was that most of the officials who got appointed on key posts have no relevant qualification and experience.
“Based on our reports, unprofessional personnel have been employed in the MoFA. Among them are even medical doctors, engineers, architects who have been hired thanks to their connections with the high ranking officials. Some of them have even become ambassadors and top diplomats at key embassies abroad,” he said.
Zazai added that his committee in the Wolesi Jirga has prepared a list of inefficient employees and has submitted it to the Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani. If Rabbani did not take action in the next three months, he warned they would take actions based on legal authorities that they possess. “Some diplomats are even above 80-years old which is against diplomatic protocols.”
Based on the information by the Wolesi Jirga committee of international affairs, more than 100 persons had just studied up to 12th class and have been hired on key diplomatic positions and 200 more that have also been employed without pursuing merit policy, Zazai added.
Other members of parliament were also of the opinion that at least half of the lawmakers have their family members or relative hired at the MoFA. They said when the sitting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah was foreign minister then diplomats from Panjsher province were hired in each and every embassy.
In European or North American embassies, majority of the local or technical employees have some connections with top government officials, they added.
They said MoFA has turned into a human trafficking centre where top officials send their relatives to Europe and other countries with diplomatic passports. Some have been sent to Italy as family members of Qais Hassan a lawmaker.
Through such works and connections, former parliamentarian directorate head has now been appointed as the General Consul in Los Angeles through his connections with members of parliament, they alleged.
Atiqullah Atifmal, deputy at MoFA, acknowledged that in the last 13 years, employees have been hired based on their relations but said that this trend was prevalent in all the ministries and MoFA was not an exception. “Some people were hired without entrance exams. We have evaluated the current situation based on President’s directions and we submitted our report to Ghani for further action,” he added.
Apart from the cronies of the officials, family members and relatives of CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Zalmai Rasoul, and Zarar Ahmad Osmani former foreign ministers have also been employed at MoFA.
Those who have recently been hired by Zarar Ahmad Osmani included Shoaib Habibi, deputy chief of staff, Najib Aqa Fahim, director of policy and strategy, Fahim Kohdamani, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayaf’s spokesperson, Hamid Haidari, former Tolo TV journalist, Fahim Abrat, Ahmad Reshad Kohistani and many more.
Serajul Haq Seraj, deputy spokesperson at MoFA, has also been hired without completing any procedures or appearing for any exam.
It is said that when Zarar Ahmad Osmani was minister of counter-terrorism and interior, Fahim was his advisor in both ministries. But when he came to MoFA he created a new directorate of policy and strategy and hired Fahim for the post.
Hamid Haidari, former Tolo TV journalist, who was also Osmani’s advisor at counter-narcotics ministry, was brought to MoFA and according to some has poor attendance at work.
Sirajul Haq Siraj, deputy spokesperson at MoFA, however, said that they were employed based on the needs of the ministry.
Without presenting any figures that how many people have been hired without appearing for the exams, he added, based on the new policies people would be hired after presenting their university degrees and passing entrance exams.
Critics said one of the main reasons that MoFA and diplomatic mission abroad have been so useless has its roots in employees who have no professionalism or efficiency.
Physical brawls among top diplomats and relatives of these officials in embassies abroad were also hot issues in media. Three years ago, Aklil Hakimi, former ambassador to the US and current finance minister was beaten by Ashaq Alako, son of Attorney General.
Head of Ulama Council Qiamuddin Kashaf’s son who was a diplomat at Afghan embassy in Saudi Arabia had brawl with the ambassador and was then sent to Hungary where he created trouble as well.
Salahuddin Rabbani taking vote of confidence from parliament last month promised to bring reforms to this key portfolio. “When we promise for reforms it is not a promise for a particular group. Our promise is for people.”
Rabbani promised to bring reforms, ensure professionalism, evaluate the activities of missions abroad, and pay special heed for gender equality in the ministry.
In the same manner that security forces were sacrificing for peace and tranquility, he added, personnel of MoFA also had obligations in political and foreign relations sphere.
Based on article 5 of the diplomatic and consular law, MoFA should conduct entrance exam on an yearly basis to hire capable youth in various rankings of the ministry.
Last year over 1,330 individuals appeared for the entrance exam and apparently those who have been shortlisted have been waiting for their interviews for months. It is said that Zarar Ahmad Osmani’s relatives have been hired instead on the positions.
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