The world body representative Miloon Kothari named Defence Minister Muhammad Fahim and Education Minister Yunus Qanuni as principle offenders in a long list of Afghan VIPs on Thursday.

“People at the very highest level are involved in this occupation. There has to be a change and ministers that are very directly involved have to be removed, I don't see what else can be done," Kothari added.

Accusations and reports

Kothari, appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHCR), told journalists of his opinion after concluding a two week visit to assess housing and land throughout Afghanistan.

"Essentially what we have found there is that ministers and people at the highest level are involved in occupying land and in demolishing the homes of poor people … some of whom have been there for 25 to 30 years," he said. 
  

"Ministers that are very directly involved have to be removed, I don't see what else can be done"

Miloon Kothari,
UNHCR representative

The UNHCR rep said other military commanders and senior defence ministry officials as well as Fahim and Qanuni were involved in the land seizures.
  
Kothari will present a report on his mission to the UNCHR in April of next year, ten weeks before Afghanistan’s first elections are due to be held – although there are hints that the vote may be delayed.

Minister reaction

Vice President Fahim’s first secretary, Dr Qalb al-Din, told Aljazeera.net the report was politically motivated and an “unsubtle attempt to discredit prominent ministers before the election”.

Qalb al-Din also questioned how, after only two weeks, such serious accusations could be made without actually questioning many of the officials named.

He rejected any hint of illegal confiscations, saying all land acquisition had been performed “openly and transparently” in accordance with interim government guidelines and city planners to redevelop the capital.

Fahim’s deputy, General Bism Allah Khan, told Aljazeera’s correspondent in Qandahar that he planned to hold a press conference on Saturday to reject the accusations publicly.