Govt Yet to Tackle Caretaker Issue As Brussels Summit Looms

BrusselsAug23

As the Brussels Summit on Afghanistan looms, the Afghan government has to meet a number of commitments made to the international community ahead of the crucial meeting – one of them being that related to the practice of using caretakers in senior positions.

Hadi Meeran is one such caretakers who serves as the director of public relations in the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing. He returned to Afghanistan three years ago after years of living in Europe.

Meeran looked for a job for almost two years until landing his current caretaker position.

But he still faces an uncertain future as he has not been appointed as official head of department – despite passing the Independent Public Administration and Civil Service Commission exam as required.

“I have obtained a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and a master’s degree in human rights. I was appointed by the president as caretaker of this department after my predecessor resigned from the post. Several months ago, the position was re-announced by the independent administrative reforms commission,” said Meeran.

Based on the political agreement signed between President Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, the appointments in government are supposed to be undertaken in consensus between the two leaders.

“Unfortunately, ethnic and personal relations have led to a stand-off in this respect and this has expanded the gap between government and the people,” said university lecturer Hikmatullah Shahbaz.

But, government insists that the appointments of government officials are carried out on the basis of qualification, and not relations.

“In case the job seekers fulfill the necessary criteria, then a decision is taken about him, in the civil service sector, the administrative reform commission puts the job up for competition, if the candidate completes the required eligibility, then he is hired,” said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, deputy presidential spokesman.

The statement comes as the Afghan government prepares for the Brussels Summit, a summit scheduled for October and which is set to evaluate the performance of the Afghan government across all sectors.

Brussels Summit will determine international assistance to Afghanistan for the next four years.

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