Regular Meeting of the Council of Ministers

The regular meeting of the Council of Ministers was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

In his preliminary remarks, the Chief Executive referred to his travel to the United States and Canada and said he had discussed Washington's new strategy oin South Asia and Afghanistan with senior US officials. The Chief Executive noted of different dimensions of the strategy, including addressing the terrorist sanctuaries, which is the main reason for continuation of the war, and said during the meeting with US officials, we appreciated the durability of Washington's assistance and cooperation with the Afghan government and people.

The Chief Executive said as the groups who were fighting against the government, had sheltered and sponsored by some countries, were not interested in peace until now; we hope that hereafter the conditions would be provided for the people of Afghanistan to reach peace and stability.

Dr. Abdullah expressed dissatisfaction with the increase in cultivation and production of drugs, saying that the reasons for the rise of drug cultivation and smuggling are clear and the most increase had been in insecure areas.

The Chief Executive emphasized on the elimination of centers and factories for production and smuggling narcotics, and said it has been decided that factories and drug networks, which are the main sources of financing terrorism, would be targeted. Dr. Abdullah said based on this decision, drug networks in the south of the country were targeted and destroyed. Drug prevention is a part of comprehensive security policy and has a direct impact on improving the country's situation.

The Chief Executive called for cooperation and assistance by regional countries and countries of the world in the fight against narcotics, saying that combating this phenomenon is not the sole responsibility of Afghanistan.

The Chief Executive considered ISIS a major challenge for Afghanistan and for the world, and expressed satisfaction at the failure of the terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Dr. Abdullah praised the effective struggle of countries with ISIS and stressed that the National Unity Government is not in favor of the Afghans’ fighting in any part of the world.

The Chief Executive said that nowadays dozens of terrorist groups from different countries are fighting in Afghanistan, and this is a good lesson for us. Dr. Abdullah added that the position of the Afghan government and the Chief Executive is the same because we do not support the Afghans to fight in other countries.

Pointing to the heinous acts of ISIS in the region and in the world, the Chief Executive said, “The terrorist group is the enemy of humanity, and the people of Afghanistan are in the front line of fighting against the terrorist groups."

Referring to his meetings with the UN Secretary-General and members of the Security Council, Dr. Abdullah said, “Russia considers ISIS a threat to itself and the Central Asia, and I explained to them that Afghanistan is at the forefront of fighting against this group.”

While stressing on the elimination of ISIS, the Chief Executive pointed out that Afghanistan is the only country in which ISIS has failed to expand its activities.

However, Dr. Abdullah said some countries believe that ISIS is a threat to them, while all terrorist groups have grown up by the Taliban and are operating under their flag. If countries do not help Afghanistan in the fight against ISIS, we will not expect them to create barriers.

Noting of the Day on Elimination of Violence against Women, Dr. Abdullah called on the government departments, civil society and scholars of the country to stand up against violence against women.

The Chief Executive also called on the country's Parliament as an independent government branch, considering the supreme interests of the country, to give vote of confidence to the Ministry’s nominees.

The Chief Executive spoke on continuing reform in the Election Commission and said, “We hope that there will be a fresh energy in the electoral process as a result of the reforms.”

Dr. Abdullah once again emphasized on holding transparent, fair and timely parliamentary, district councils and presidential elections, saying that we would no longer want the bitter memories of the past, which had a very negative effect on Afghanistan’s situation, to be repeated.

The Chief Executive called holding election as the only option for the country, saying that other solutions, such as the interim government and the traditional Loya Jirga are ineffective and would not solve the problem.

Stating that the public demand is holding fair and transparent elections, Dr. Abdullah urged the politicians to have patience of being put aside a few days of the government structure, and based on democracy values, we should leave a tradition to be reminded as a good one; not if we were away from the government one day, we would call for an interim government or overthrow the regime.

Dr. Abdullah said that he was also a member of the regime's opposition, but had never desired the collapse of the regime. Now, the country's politicians have right to do free political activities on the basis of the Constitution, but they should not prescribe things that are against supreme interests of the country.

The Chief Executive, in another part of his speech, emphasized on impartial fighting against corruption and said that political motives should not be involved in anti-corruption, so that people judge our actions on that basis.

Then, Dr. Abdullah outlined the agenda of the meeting as follows:

According to the agenda, Acting Interior Minister reported on recent security incidents in Kabul, Farah, Kandahar and some other parts of the country.

He said that as a result of air strikes operations by the Afghan forces and Resolute Support Mission in Helmand and Kandahar, 300 terrorists were killed and dozens wounded.

Wais Ahmad Barmak said security forces are dominant over the country's situation, so that during the previous week they arrested the most dangerous gangs and captive groups in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Defense Ministry’s officials also emphasized on suppression of the enemy in all provinces.

Then, Eng. Mohammad Khan, First Deputy to the Chief Executive and head of the responsible board for standardization of the pump stations in Kabul, expressed his concerns about the results of their investigations and non-observance of the standards by a number of pump stations, and said that, despite the board's warnings, no modifications have been made so far.

Dr. Abdullah directed the Ministry of the Interior and the responsible board to give the pump stations a deadline of one month to take the standards into account and to take safety measures; if no corrections were made during this period, the pumping stations would be blocked.

The Chief Executive also said that distribution of permits for the pump stations should be stopped in Kabul because the number of pumping stations is more than the capital's need.

Then, the Ministry of Commerce gave information about Afghanistan's National Export Strategy.

Afghanistan's Export Strategy has been developed in consultation with 500 private entrepreneurs and investors and outlined the five-year vision for the export sector.

The officials said, “Afghanistan, after fifteen years, for the first time has achieved such a document, and the approval of the strategy would be prominent in increasing domestic production and the proportion of exports and imports.

Following the Ministry of Commerce’s information, the Chief Executive directed the Ministries and departments to present their views and ideas about the strategy until the next three weeks in order for the policy to be finalized and approved.

According to the agenda, the Ministry of Finance presented a detailed report on the revenues and expenditures and improving sources of revenues. The Chief Executive gave necessary instruction to the government departments and institutions on budget consumption and the forthcoming plans.

Then, the Ministry of Economy reported on the meeting of the third quarter of provincial development committees. Based on the findings, the meetings of the development committees during the third quarter of fiscal year 1396 show a 27% increase compared to the third quarter of solar year 1395.

According to the agenda, the Ministry of Higher Education reported on the Land of Herat University. According to the report of the officials, the land problem of Herat University has been resolved.

Then, the Ministry of Education reported on the banking of salaries for the staff and teachers of the Ministry of Education.

The Chief Executive directed the Ministry of Finance, Economy, Communications and Information Technology and Da Afghanistan Bank to discuss the issue and prepare a regular plan to avoid delaying the salaries.

In miscellaneous part, Dr. Abdullah directed the Ministry of Interior and the National Security Administration to send a delegation to Herat in order to examine the case of martyrdom of Afif Jamshidi, a member of Herat Provincial Council.