Three ministerial candidates present their plans to parliament

Nominee ministers for foreign affairs, finance and interior, on Monday presented their operational strategies to the Wolesi Jirga, or Lower House of Parliament, for their votes of confidence.

Acting foreign minister Haneef Atmar said if there is no peace agreement reached between the Afghan team and the Taliban in Qatar, national and regional consensus will be jeopardized, and even if the peace process is successful, the threat of terrorism will not end in Afghanistan.

“The issue of peace is a serious need, and if this process does not succeed, the national and regional consensus will be jeopardized and the system and the country will be damaged, and if we find peace with the Taliban, still the threat of terrorism will remain,” Atmar told MPs.

He also stated that peace and stability in Afghanistan would be in the best interests of the region and the world.

However, he stated that “Afghanistan will be faced with terrorism threats” even if a peace deal is reached with the Taliban.

Atmar stated that regional and global cooperation in respect of the Afghan peace process was needed and that assistance from stakeholders in fighting terrorism was also necessary.

He said economic growth was also dependent on regional and foreign cooperation especially in terms of transit and trade connectivity.

Atmar said the international community’s assistance to Afghanistan needs to become responsible and effective.

“We will not let anyone undermine our national sovereignty,” he said.

Acting interior minister Massoud Andarabi and acting finance minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal also presented their strategies to MPs.

Arghandiwal said if he wins a vote of confidence as finance minister, he will increase domestic revenue to 400 billion Afghanis by 2025 and declare Afghanistan as economically independent in the same year.

Arghandiwal said under his reform program, the finance ministry will be able to collect $700 million in the short-term from the international community.

He also said that the construction of hydro-electric dams, investment in the agricultural sector, and mining were areas that would be prioritized under his leadership.

Arghandiwal stated that the problem of corruption in the country is a major challenge that requires serious action. He also said more than 1,000 people have been referred to the Attorney General’s Office on charges of corruption in customs and other revenue sectors.

Meanwhile, Massoud Andarabi, the nominee and acting minister for interior, told members of the Wolesi Jirga that the Taliban had increased violence across the country by changing their tactics.

Andarabi said targeted assassinations, attacks on district centers and roadside bombs are key tactics now being used by the Taliban.

He added that security forces had responded to all Taliban action in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers have criticized some of the nominees and accused them of being corrupt, saying they are “old faces”.

MPs have however decided that once all 10 ministerial candidates have presented their operational plans, lawmakers will vote by ballot on Thursday to determine the fate of the candidates.