Afghan leaders promise to deliver taxes

Afghan regional leaders vowed on Tuesday to deliver millions of dollars of customs revenue owed to the central government in Kabul.

    Karzai threatened to quit if
    leaders did not get into line

    The pledge came during a meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and 12 provincial governors in Kabul.

    Deputy Defence Minister General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Army Corps Commander General Atta Mohammad also attended the meeting. 

    The 12 governors signed an agreement with Karzai which commits them to transfer custom revenues collected in their governorates to the central government in Kabul.

    A presidential advisor to Karzai said the president had threatened to resign unless the governors show more cooperation with him. He also threatened to take “serious action” against anyone who failed to co-operate,  the advisor said.

    Leaders had been spending custom revenues in their provinces without authorization from the central government.

    Afghanistan’s finance ministry says taxes exceeded half a billion dollars last year but only $80 million reached Kabul.

    Ismael Khan, the powerful governor of Herat province, collects $500,000 to $1 million dollars a day. Last week he handed over about $3 million to Kabul.

    US envoy visits

    The meeting coincided with a visit to Kabul by US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad’s. Khalilzad was charged with creating a post-Taliban  government in Afghanistan after a US-led war in 2001 ousted the group.

    Karzai has struggled since then to control regional commanders, many of whom have their own armies.


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